San Jose’s Japantown has a unique mix of older single-family homes and new housing developments of all types—mostly condos, townhomes and rentals—together with a friendly, vibrant central business district.
Bounded by Taylor Street to the north and Empire to the south, First Street to the west and 10th to the east, it’s a fairly compact, walkable neighborhood. The area’s little “downtown” runs along Jackson Street and features professional services and retail shops, including a dozen-plus restaurants—from Mexican and Korean to Chinese and Hawaiian and, of course, Japanese—and a recently opened dog boutique.
The San Jose Betsuin Buddhist Church is a neighborhood fixture and perhaps most known for the Obon Festival it sponsors each July, a notable event that draws locals and revelers from miles around to experience the traditional taiko drumming, cultural dancing, storytelling and food.
There are just three properties in the neighborhood currently on the market. Two of these—a single family home and a condo—have been listed for some time, 181 and 107 days, respectively. The third, another condo, has been on the market for 21 days.
The newest listing is a 1,055-square-foot condo located at 520 N. Fourth St. It is a two-bedroom/two-bath priced at $260,000 and was built in 1983—relatively new in comparison to many of this neighborhood’s properties. This property is a short sale and needs some work. The second condo listing is smaller at 876 square feet and is two-bedrooms/one-bath. It is located at 167 E. Empire St. and priced at $209,900. This a bank-owned property with minimal listing details. Although these properties may need some TLC, they represent a great opportunity to get into the Japantown neighborhood. In a typical real estate market, properties here are much higher than at present.
The single-family home is unique as it’s an attached property located in front of a property that looks to have been built more recently to take advantage of the large lot. It is 2,150 square feet and features four bedrooms and 2 1/2 baths. It is priced at $479,000.
Several newer properties have been developed in recent years in Japantown. These include: Mariani Square, with 45 lofts and 114 row townhouses; Viridian at Bernal Park; Markethouse Lofts with 53 units; the 2-unit Classics; and 800 N. First St. with 66 contemporary condominiums.
Mariani Square retains the feeling from its cannery history with a brick exterior, wood beamed ceilings and concrete slab floors. The townhomes are trilevel and have attached two-car garages. Virdian is adjacent to Bernal Park and offers master suites with walk-in closets, dual sink marble counter tops in the bathroom, vaulted ceilings and granite slab counter tops in the kitchen. The units also have two-car tandem garages. Markethouse Lofts are light and open as one would expect with floor to ceiling windows. The building has secure underground parking and is across from Bernal Park. The Classics at Bernal Park townhomes come with either dual master bedroom suites, or a three bedroom floor plan. The units feature tandem, two car garages and nicely landscaped common areas.