Photo: Joji Morita (Isono Corporation)

Johnson Town: Japan's own little slice of 1950s America


Johnson Town in Iruma, Saitama, is a picture-perfect recreation of a small American town straight out of the 1950s. Neatly trimmed lawns separate period-style wooden houses, vintage cars are parked at the most scenic spots, and restaurants sell homemade burgers. 

Although Johnson Town feels American, all the residents and shopkeepers are Japanese. It’s an American dreamland made by Japanese for Japanese, which is further part of the town’s charm. 

Things to see and do


Johnson Town is an easy day trip from Tokyo, offering scenery that feels like walking through the sets of "Leave it to Beaver" while offering a large variety of contemporary delights. They range from hearty American-style food, closely adhering to original recipes to the latest in western-inspired health food. 

Try the huge burgers at a cafe called Blue Corn, or the rice flour bread (米粉パン) at Koigakubo Bakery. The bakery also sells the famous Johnson Town ice cream, a delicious gelato using locally grown Sayama tea as a key ingredient. 

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Can’t see any lawns in the main photos. Got a photo to illustrate that?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Quote: 'made by Japanese for Japanese'. How true that is and an insight of this people's psyche

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Hmm, 1950's America. Which cafes are for whites and which for blacks?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Quote: 'made by Japanese for Japanese'. How true that is and an insight of this people's psyche

Eh, how is it any different than a faux German town like Leavenworth Washington, a faux Swedish town like Kingsburg California (with their water tower decorated to look like a Swedish coffee pot !) or a faux Danish town like Solvang California? It's all fun. Lighten up.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

". . .  feels like walking through the sets of "Leave it to Beaver" . . ."

No. It looks like a company town for a mine.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It’s an American dreamland made by Japanese for Japanese

In other words, "No gaijin!"


0 ( +0 / -0 )

When I look at those huts the first word that springs to mind is ........asbestos!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Kind of interesting I suppose, but the spacing between those houses, which contrary to the description are nowhere near big enough to allow for American style lawns, screams "JAPAN". Ditto the concrete utility poles holding up electric power lines.

Also those houses don't look like typical American houses from the 50s (even ignoring the way they are crammed together). Granted that they don't look like typical Japanese houses either, but they look more like the type of temporary structures you see in well seasoned trailer parks in the US rather than a more typical suburban residential area.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'd say looks more like utilitarian mass produced military housing.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Mostly not a place where people live. Commercial places like cafes. You can find it on Google Street.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I actually live near this area and have been a few times. It’s alright. The flats are like 1 LDK and you’re not allowed to hang laundry outside apparently. It’s not a game changer but the rent is. I’d rather own a house for that price. The ice cream is good though. No yards as expected but there’s a big park nearby with a long roller slide for the kiddos. So I guess it works out


0 ( +0 / -0 )

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