Held each year since 1972, the festival celebrates the Japanese American heritage and culture through live entertainment, food and drink, arts and crafts, and informative exhibits and demonstrations.
Among the entertainment will be Denver Taiko, whose rousing drum performances have in past years drawn the festival’s biggest crowds, as well as performances of Japanese dance, koto and shamisen, and martial arts. Inside the Tri-State/Denver Buddhist Temple, attendees will find exhibits of ikebana (flower arrangement) and bonsai, and informative lectures on Buddhism. The temple’s gymnasium is home to a variety of food and drink, including the popular teriyaki chicken dinner plate, beef udon (noodle) and vegetarian udon bowls, sushi, and delicious Japanese sweets called manju and mochi. They will be pouring complementary hot green tea, but if that’s too much heat on a warm summer day, head downstairs to the beer garden for a cold glass and a refreshing bowl of chilled somen (noodles). Teriyaki burgers will also be available.
In addition, a selection of arts and crafts vendors will have vintage kimono, handmade jewelry, Asian-inspired pottery, books and anime, dolls, fine art, Japanese Hawaiian T-shirts, and more. Nearly 40 booths, including a few informational ones tied to the Japanese-American community, will fill much of Lawrence Street. Stop by the shodo (calligraphy) booth to have your name or a favorite expression written in Japanese.
Meet in front of TriState Denver Buddhist Temple at 1947 Lawrence Street at 11am, or if you arrive later, look for us either inside the temple, or in Sakura Square. Free admission to festival, but bring cash for food or purchases.