Located in the heart of San Francisco's Japantown is a five-acre complex of shops, theaters, hotels, and restaurants that was originally called the Japanese Cultural and Trade Center when it opened in 1960. Today known as Japan Center, it can be easily identified by its landmark, the five-tiered Peace Pagoda that is symbolic of eternal peace. Standing a full 100 feet high, it was designed by renowned Japanese architect Yoshiro Taniguchi.
In the very middle of Japan Center is Peace Plaza, which features a beautiful slate tile fountain near the pagoda. Three large buildings house the majority of the center's business offices and shops: the Kinokuniya Bookstore Building, the Kintetsu Mall, and the Miyako Mall. The façades of the stores here have been designed to resemble an ancient Japanese village. Seating is available is many place, which helps encourage social activities.
Among the many extraordinary imports that can be found at Japan Center are handmade lacquer wares, decorative statues and lanterns, silk kimonos, bamboo crafts, books on Japan, cultured pearl accessories, and original ceramics. Some of the best sushi bars in the city a located here, too, and the Center's cinemaplex, AMC Kabuki 8, hosts the annual San Francisco International Film Exposition.
Japan Center is located at the corner of Post and Buchanan Streets. The address of the main office is 22 Peace Plaza # 510, San Francisco, California 94115-3647. Indoor parking for 920 cars can be found beneath the property in the Japan Center Garage, with additional spaces available at its Fillmore Street Annex.