What Makes Yamashiro Hollywood's Location So Special

In a town where sushi may as well be considered its own food group, Los Angeles Japanese restaurants have to make it a point to stand out from the crowd and Yamashiro has done just that. Sitting at 250 feet above Hollywood Boulevard, the restaurant's view overlooks West Hollywood (via Yamashiro Hollywood). The spectacular sight of the skyline is juxtaposed with the traditional pagoda in the restaurant's tranquil downhill garden. As the setting for episodes of some of Netflix's hit series like "Selling Sunset" and "Bling Empire," Yamashiro has made its name for serving Japanese dishes with scenery to match.

Today, Yamashiro is a go-to destination for travelers and locals alike. No matter where you're from, the grand palace will widen your eyes as you make your way up through the hills of West Hollywood and to its front doors. The indoor and outdoor gardens, fantastic views, delicious food, and traditional architecture make the meals you share at Yamashiro an experiential encounter that transports you into a different time and place. But Yamshiro's significance runs deeper than its beauty, and while the aesthetics of its location are a huge factor in its prominence, they're actually reminiscent of the building's original purpose.

Hollywood's mountain palace

In the early 1900s, hundreds of artisans from eastern Asia came to West Hollywood to construct a replica of a palace found in the mountains outside of Kyoto, Japan for Eugene and Adolph Bernheimer, per Clio. Nicknamed the "Bernheimer Brothers," the two made their millions as descendants of their family's silk and cotton business. The hill-top mansion, named Yamashiro or "mountain palace," was built to house the massive collection of art and artifacts they collected while traveling throughout China, Korea, and Japan.

Completed in 1914, the mansions' landscaping alone was estimated to cost $2 million and encompassed eight acres of gardens and ponds, through which visitors could paddle Japanese boats or ride Taiwanize pedicabs. Those who didn't have cars at the time, could access the land by climbing 300 steps of steep stairs directly from Hollywood Boulevard to the palace's front entrance (via Discover LA). After the Bernheimer Brothers' passing, the mansion served as a military school, a brothel, an apartment building, and eventually crumbled to the anti-Japanese culture following the events of Pearl Harbor.

But then, in the 1950s, Thomas Glover restored its Asian architecture and gave the building new life. Across the property, Glover transformed the original construction into a hotel, apartments, and a cocktail lounge. The bar's popularity grew quickly and expanded into more and more rooms in the palace. One New Years' Eve, when Glover's son, also named Thomas Glover, served hors d'oeuvres and the Yamashiro restaurant was born. Glover's son still owns the restaurant and maintains his father's commitment to preserving the palace's history. Today, Yamashiro's 600-year-old pagoda is the oldest structure in the state of California (via Yamashiro Hollywood).