Little Tokyo

Little Tokyo Tradition: Visit With Shogun Santa

The beloved figure will call upon Japanese Village Plaza the weekend before Christmas.

Little Tokyo Business Association

What to Know

  • Dec. 18 and 19, 2021 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Japanese Village Plaza, near Nijiya Market
  • Do note that there will be a barrier between visitors and Shogun Santa, so there is no lap-sitting this year
  • Free

Little Tokyo twinkles throughout the calendar, including in August, when both Nisei Week and the Tanabata Festival are in full and festive flower.

And that singular twinkle sparkles on, through all sorts of special occasions, thanks to the neighborhood's many charming destinations, superb shops and restaurants, and one-of-a-kind offerings.

But for many supporters of the delightful district, it is all about meeting a famous and famously beloved figure of the holiday season, a merry man who delivers cheer, hope, and plenty of community spirit.

We speak, of course, of Shogun Santa, a spirit-raising, smile-bringing legend around Little Tokyo and far beyond the downtown neighborhood.

And making time to spend time with the joyful icon, who dons beautiful traditional attire and brings accessories for the august occasion, including a magnificent gold helmet, bells, and a hand fan, is how many Southern Californians officially and auspiciously begin their seasonal celebrations.

Those happy meetings in 2021 will still take place, on Saturday, Dec. 18 and Sunday, Dec. 19, with a couple of changes.

"For the health and safety of Santa and visitors, there will be a barrier around Santa, and sitting on Santa's lap will not be permitted," shares the event's organizers.

Snapping photos, waving at Shogun Santa, and sharing a moment, even from a distance?

Those cheerful experiences can still be enjoyed, if you head for the Japanese Village Plaza Christmas tree from 11 a.m. to 3 o'clock on either Saturday or Sunday.

This special opportunity is free, and no ticket is required. If you'd like to donate, you are welcome to do so.

The Little Tokyo Business Association presents this family-fun opportunity, as it has done in years gone by. And speaking of local businesses? There are plenty of shops to visit, for a host of amazing gifts, all within walking distance of the plaza, and a number of delicious restaurants nearby, too.

For all of the holiday doings around the area, visit Go Little Tokyo's holiday-dedicated site now.

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