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Jul 2, 2007 04:15 AM

where to buy japanese stuff

Hi everybody,
i'm an italian guy who loves very much cooking particularly japanese...I found this very nice blog lately and I post this because i really need some help. I'm coming to L.A for business (I'm a wineproducer) and i'd like very much to buy japanese items (tableware, cookware and foods) they are really hard to find here in there anyone that can tell me where i can go (I know Mitsuwa for esample)?
many many many thanks

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  1. You did not mention where you are staying, but there are Ranch 99 markets throughout LA. They have a lot of basic Japanese things, including relatively inexpensive cookware and tableware. But those will be basics. If you want more unusual items, you may have to hunt around Little Tokyo. Also, some of the shops on Sawtelle have dishes and tableware.

    1. Go to Marukai, (see web link). They have 5 or 6 locations in and around LA, (their web site has a store location feature). They should have everything you are looking for.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Servorg

        If you want to go to some of the Marukais you need a membership card ($10, I believe) so I'm not sure it's worth it. Never asked but they may allow a one day free shopping pass. Some membership stores here allow that, but you'd have to call and ask first. I haven't a clue if Marukai do that for visiting tourists. If you end up in the Little Tokyo area near downtown Los Angeles, I'd suggest you try Rafu Bussan gift shop at 326 E. Second Street. If you do a google search (rafu bussan, los angeles) you get some details although they don't have a website. They sell lots of Japanese tableware, some cutlery and other Japanese items. The staff are very helpful and knowledgeable; they seem to have been the same crew for years. The biggest market in Little Tokyo is the Mitsuwa on Third and Central (about 2 blocks away) from Rafu Bussan. There is a Marukai (don't need a membership card at this one except for some of the "specials") market and Nijiya Market near the Rafu Bussan but they both aren't very big. Nijiya is kind of known for having more organic produce, etc. By the way, I have nothing to do with any of these stores except as a customer. My friends have a camera store in Little Tokyo and so I'm always hanging around in the area. Hope you find what you need. 99 Ranch Markets are a Chinese chain market, but they are huge and might have some of the things you want/need. There isn't one close to Little Tokyo. You might check out the Koreatown area west of downtown Los Angeles if you're interested in Korean things. The areas of Japanese businesses are usually not too big.

        1. re: Feed_me

          Mitsuwas and Marukais are plentiful throughout Southern California and particularly in Gardena/Torrance/Lomita, where you'll find the heart of the Japanese community. Marukai tends to have a wider assortment at slightly cheaper prices and you can buy a one-day temp membership for $1. I like the Marukai on Artesia.

          There's also Nijiya market nearby, which is another large Japanese market in the area.

          If you're interested in mochi/manju/daifuku, my favorite place for them is Sakura-ya in Gardena.

          1. re: Feed_me

            You can get a pass good for one month at Marukai for $1. At least you could at the Gardena location last fall. I also second Rafu Bussan for higher end ceramics at a good price. There is also a ceramics place in the Mitsuwa mall on 3rd St. that has lots of ceramic items, many at bargain prices.

            1. re: hpcat

              Thanks for the second "hpcat." I just noticed the ceramics place in the Mitsuwa mall on 3rd Street yesterday. I usually don't venture to the Mitsuwa mall. Good bit of info.

        2. I go to the San Gabriel Mitsuwa store. Their website - - shows all the stores.

          1. You might also try a hardware store located on 1st Street in J-town... the name slips my mind at the moment, but it carries alot of hard-to-find gadgets... maybe some of the other posters will recall the name... it's just a couple of doors away from the Fugetsu-do mochi and manju place...

            1 Reply
            1. re: bulavinaka

              The hardware store on 1st Street is Anzen:

              Anzen Hardware & Supplies
              309 E 1st St Los Angeles
              (213) 628-7600

              You might also try:

              S.K. Uyeda Department Store
              350 East First Street
              Los Angeles, CA
              (213) 687-4812

            2. On Sawtelle, there is an import store for cookwares but Little Tokyo where Mitsuwa is has a small appliance store which has rice cookers and such. Torrance Mitsuwa is far the best one and you can get everthing there. If you don't mind getting a membership for a year, there is Marukai- discount Japanese store that has everything from books to medicine to food to prepared food- raw fish, veg's you name it