This festival embraces the local community’s love and appreciation of Japanese American culture and heritage.
In 1976, as part of America’s bicentennial celebration, the City of San Jose encouraged local ethnic communities to sponsor festivals to share their culture. The Japanese American community responded with a successful festival that became the Nikkei Matsuri, which is located in the heart of San Jose Japantown, only one of three surviving Japantowns left in the United States.
What better way to share Japanese American culture than through food and the arts? There is something for the entire family at Nikkei Matsuri. Plan to spend the entire day in Japantown.
The Food Court features traditional and non-traditional Japanese cuisine. Food is prepared on-site and served by local Japanese American nonprofit organizations.
The Arts and Crafts Fair includes over 60 arts and crafts vendors from throughout the western U.S. and Hawaii. Everything is handmade with a focus on Japanese American tradition and contemporary style. The fair features a wide variety of clothing, ceramics, pottery and gifts, all uniquely Japanese or Asian American.
The Outdoor Stage is contemporary and hosts groups like the well-known San Jose Chidori Band, Wesley Jazz Band, and San Jose Taiko.
The Indoor Stage features Japanese culture through music (koto, shakuhachi), martial arts, and dance (Bando and Hanayagi styles).
Cultural displays, such as ikebana (flower arranging), suiseki (rock displays), bonsai (miniature trees and plants) and kimekomi dolls (handmade dolls based on a wooden form), which are a part of everyday Japanese life, are shown in the San Jose Buddhist Church Annex. Several schools and organizations are represented in these craft displays, spanning centuries of Japanese tradition.
Other events that day in Japantown: Kodomo no Hi (Children’s Day) at Japanese American Museum of San Jose; children’s crafts by Suzume no Gakko; Japantown Farmers’ Market; Yu-Ai Kai Nihonmachi Run; San Jose-Okayama Sister City 60th anniversary celebration (April 21-23).
Go green — bring your own bags, ride the light rail, ride your bike (free bike parking).
For more information, visit www.nikkeimatsuri.org.