Amidst the 102-degree temperature that blazed over downtown Los Angeles on Sept. 15, Kizuna’s first annual Scavenger Hunt took place with over a 120 participants in 25 teams, ready to scour the street of Little Tokyo.

Beginning at the Higashi Honganji Temple, the four- to five-person teams raced through Little Tokyo into an array of challenging mini-competitions, clues and activities designed to have participants get to know Little Tokyo better by introducing them to local businesses, surrounding landmarks and community events.

The hunt’s challenges had participants interact with participating nonprofits and businesses. Nonprofits challenges included building robots at the Japanese American National Museum to celebrate its upcoming Giant Robot exhibit as well as identifying the themes of murals constructed during Kizuna’s Youth CAN program to have participants gain an understanding of one of the organization’s leadership development programs.

Local business challenges included Bar Nirvana’s flip cup challenge, a karaoke contest at Oiwake, Café Dulce’s price match game, and a flyer hunt activity at the No. A. Numerous other businesses opened their doors to be destinations for solving clues as well.

“We really wanted our competitors to connect and really get to know Little Tokyo. We’re grateful to all of the participating businesses for allowing us to showcase their unique and important role in this community. I’m glad that our event was able to bring so many people out to J-Town,” said Grant Kai, chair of the hunt.

Although the heat was intense, team morale remained high with each successfully completed challenge. The winning team, Tuesday Night Café, finished all challenges within 1 hour, 53 minutes, taking home the $500 grand prize. In second place was Team Headband, finishing only seven seconds behind.

The hunt was hosted as a fundraiser for Kizuna, a non-profit organization that builds a space for a next generation of community leaders through leadership development programs, internships and mentor programs. More information can be found at their website,

Kai had this to say after the hunt: “All in all, the event felt very positive. It was just unfortunate that it coincided with the hottest day of the year. Nevertheless, Kizuna would like to thank all the participants, volunteers, businesses, and people who made this event possible. We hope that everyone had fun at this inaugural event and that we’ll see them again next year.”

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