Japan Festival Canada is North America’s largest Japanese cultural event.
Summer is matsuri season, and the biggest matsuri festival in Canada is the annual Japan Festival held at Celebration Square in downtown Mississauga. Celebrating 90 years of diplomatic relations between Canada and Japan, this year’s festival promises to be bigger, brighter and bolder than ever before.
For the first time ever, the festival plays host to the Canada-Tokyo Chef Competition. The top competitors will vie for the grand prize: round-trip airfare to Japan and an epic tour of one of the world’s greatest culinary and cultural destinations—Tokyo! Competi- tors must submit a unique dish inspired by Japanese cuisine or ingredients by July 31, with the winner crowned on Aug. 25.
Headlining the festival this year are some world-renowned taiko drummers: Eitetsu Hayashi with his EITETSU FU-UN no KAI ensemble and the Akamine Sisters. The Akamine Sisters perform in the Ryukyuan traditional dance style. They hail from Naha City, Okinawa, and have performed to audiences around the world, from Taiwan and Korea to Bulgaria and Hawaii. Eitetsu Hayashi is Japan’s premier solo taiko drummer, counting performances at Carnegie Hall and with the illustrious Berlin Philharmonic and Boston Symphony Orchestras among his greatest honours.
He shares the stage with his ensemble, EITETSU FU-UN no KAI, comprised of top young taiko drummers from across Japan. Attendees will also be treated to break- dancing and J-pop performances and are invited to participate in Bon Odori traditional matsuri dances.
No festival would be complete without sponsors demonstrating new and exciting technology while extending offers and promotions to guests. Throughout the grounds, dozens of vendors will be selling popular and hard-to-find goods such asyukata summer kimonos, Japanese-inspired jewelry and imported Japanese toys and products.
True to any matsuri experience, the enticing smells of delicious yakisoba noodles, grilled chicken yakitori skewers, taiyaki(fish-shaped pastries) and mouth-wateringtakoyaki (grilled octopus balls) waft through the neighbourhood beckoning hungry passersby, while refreshing kakigori (shaved ice dessert), chilled poke bowls, creamy Japanese cheesecake and iced green tea drinks keep revellers cool.
Experience the vibrancy of Japan’s festival spirit in the heart of Mississauga next month at the Japan Festival Canada.
JAPAN FESTIVAL CANADA
Saturday, Aug. 25, 12 pm–10 pm & Sunday, Aug. 26, 11 am–7 pm
Location: Celebration Square, 300 City Centre Dr., Mississauga
*Public transit access by MiWay and Go Transit. Parking available. Pet-friendly event.