The street has important Japanese American cultural and historical significance.
Sawtelle Boulevard’s northern end is at Ohio Avenue adjacent to the Veterans Administration, and its southern end is at Overland Avenue, a few blocks east of Sepulveda Boulevard. Sawtelle Boulevard is a major thoroughfare for the Sawtelle community and West Los Angeles neighborhood.
The portion of Sawtelle Boulevard from Santa Monica Boulevard to Olympic Boulevard is a trendy spot for the newer Japanese American community in Los Angeles,. Officially named Sawtelle Japantown, but often called simply Sawtelle or Little Osaka, - not to be confused with downtown Los Angeles’ older Little Tokyo, or the larger Japantown, San Francisco, California, Sawtelle is relatively near UCLA, Santa Monica, and Culver City. In 1992, Japanese immigrants operated botanical nurseries here. As of 2012, businesses found on this street include Japanese fast food (curry and ramen), two Japanese supermarkets, upscale sushi bars, a holistic and medical office, hair salons, neighborhood Japanese grocery stores, a Boba tea shop, anime shops, Japanese artisan stores, temples, and a few historic nurseries. In recent years, the businesses have expanded to Korean and Chinese cuisines with popular restaurants including Seoul Tofu and ROC Kitchen. The neighborhood appeals to a wide demographic with cheap eat as well as upscale restaurants and a banquet center on the corner of Olympic Boulevard and Sawtelle Boulevard. One interesting site is the consulate of Saudi Arabia, located next to a ramen restaurant and an esoteric Japanese magazine store.
Homes south of this portion of Sawtelle Boulevard are inhabited by a large Japanese American population. Many of the homes exhibit gardens and landscapes true to Japanese tradition.
After passing Olympic Boulevard, Sawtelle Boulevard continues as a four-lane boulevard running parallel to the San Diego Freeway and Sepulveda Boulevard. After entering Culver City, Sawtelle Boulevard swerves east, crosses Sepulveda Boulevard and ends at Overland Avenue in Culver City.