The single best hidden gem in San Jose has to be Japantown, our cluster of authentic Japanese restaurants and culture located right outside of downtown on Jackson Street. I know the area well because I grew up downtown, but most residents of San Jose still haven’t discovered all that is great about this area.
The restaurants are all so good, but my favorites are Tsugaru, Gombei and Kubota. And whether you want some quick sushi-to-go, sake bombs with your friends, or a nice, civilized, sit-down meal, there really is something for everyone’s taste and wallet.
Then, after a fun meal out with friends, it’s always a treat to hit up the Bamboo 7 for some karaoke (I don’t know how this place has escaped my radar screen for this long). This could possibly be the most fun thing to do with a group of friends since bowling or roller-skating in high school. As you walk up to Bamboo 7, it looks inconspicuous and empty because there are no windows; then when you walk in, it’s like you’ve taken a time machine back to the lounge days of the 70’s. I am amazed sometimes that just when you think you know this city inside and out, the things you can discover if you just step outside your comfort zone and try something new.
This isn’t an advertisement; I just cannot believe how this area has stayed a secret to most of the city for so long. So for all you negative people out there, when you’re complaining that this city seems stale and boring, take a trip down there and experience it for yourself.