Anchorage Memories VIP Club Podcast
Anchorage Memories Podcast
The Kimura Family, Anchorage Pioneers

The Kimura Family, Anchorage Pioneers

Do you remember Nikko Garden, the Chop Suey House or Snow White Laundry and Cleaners? In this edition, you'll meet the Kimura's, an Anchorage pioneer family.

Our story begins, one afternoon, long ago.

Somewhere between the newsreel and the main movie, I sat there, a young boy in the 4th Avenue Theater, when an ad filled the screen.

The first thing I noticed was that it was for a local Anchorage business. I had heard the name, “Snow White Laundry and Cleaners” many times before, but knew nothing about them. I became fascinated as I watched their movie theater ad.

Snow White Laundry and Cleaners got its humble start back in the days when Anchorage was just a “tent City”.

It was muddy, crude, and only there because of the Alaska Railroad.

Welcome to Anchorage, Alaska around 1914, 1915 and 1916. It was simply a “tent city” that sprang up around the mouth of Ship Creek.

“Harry” Kimura and his wife Katsuki moved from Seattle to what was then Anchorage and took over a small hand laundry from a relative, and gave it the name, H&K Hand Laundry. It was located near 5th Avenue and C Street.

By the way, there was no running water.

Chop Suey House

Then, as if he didn’t have enough to do, Harry opened the Chop Suey House in a small building next door to the laundry.

Yes, You Can Share this Edition

Would your friends or family enjoy learning about the early history of Anchorage?

You can easily share this edition of the Anchorage Memories VIP Club and Podcast with them. And when you do, they will be so happy that they will take you out for the dinner of your choice at your favorite restaurant… well, it could happen.

Thank you for reading Anchorage Memories VIP Club. This post is public, so feel free to share it.


The Kimura family grew to include:

Sam, who went on to become a professional photographer and taught at the University of Anchorage, Alaska for 23 years. His wife, Joan, an Anchorage artist, designed the seal for the city of Anchorage. William “Bill” Kimura, who became a painter, sculptor, and teacher. And George, who ran Kimura restaurants like the Golden Pheasant Café’ and Nikko Garden.

World War II

In 1941, Harry Kimura was locked in a barracks at Anchorage’s Fort Richardson as part of America’s wartime “internment” program.

During that time, his son George was in basic training and was given MP duty outside that same detention center.

At some point, the Kimuras left Anchorage.

Snow White Laundry and Cleaners

Following World War II, the Kimuras returned to Anchorage and expanded their H&K Hand Laundry into Snow White Laundry and Cleaners.

Along the way, they also opened a restaurant called “The Golden Pheasant Café on D Street between 4th and 5th Avenues.

Nikko Garden

Opened in 1966 and located on Spenard Road near Spenard Lake, Nikko Garden was Anchorage’s finest Oriental restaurant.

It quickly became, “the” place to go in Anchorage.

A Very Special Note:

For many years, Mary and I celebrated our wedding anniversary with dinner in one of those memorable private rooms in Nikko Garden.

Today, that restaurant location is but a fond memory for so many Alaskans.

In 1979, Nikko Garden burned down.

I was a news videographer for KTVA at the time and following the fire, I was assigned to go inside and shoot video of the charred remains. I can still remember the strange, tragic sight of the pond that ran the length of the restaurant.

It was covered with black soot and burnt debris was floating in the once beautiful water.

Now, even though it’s gone, we will always have the wonderful memories of that fine Kimura restaurant.

Nikko Garden – Gwennie’s Connection

Anchorage Memories did a story about Gwennie’s Old Alaskan Restaurant in Spenard.

Gwennie told us that when her and her mother first came to Anchorage, they rented an apartment from the Kimura family and got to know them.

Then one evening, many years later, Gwennie decided to drive down Spenard road from her restaurant and visit Nikko Garden.

When she walked into the restaurant and George Kimura saw her, he nearly fainted because he hadn’t seen her in so many years.


To learn more about this remarkable Anchorage pioneer family.

Take a kook at the Anchorage’s Kimura Family and discover.

What our North Stars (that’s you) Have to Say

Juanita sent us this comment:

I’ve learned a lot about my hometown and you’ve jogged memories of things I haven’t thought about for years. I can only say YAY!

Diana had this to say:

Well done and thank you for the trip down memory lane.

Patti shared this memory:

I remember going to the movies as a kid at the old 4th Avenue Theater. You could watch a movie for a cereal box top and 10-25 cents on Saturday.

Connect with Us

Do you remember Nikko Garden? Do you know anyone in the Kimura family?

You can send us your comments by replying to this email, or you can Contact Us to say, I remember Nikko Garden.

Until Next Time

Mike and Mary


Anchorage Memories VIP Club Podcast
Anchorage Memories Podcast
A treasure chest of narrated anchorage and Alaska memories. and adventures