Japanese Fall Festival

The Japanese Fall Festival is proceeding as scheduled on Saturday, September 8. 

The Japanese Fall Festival is a celebration of authentic Japanese culture highlighting Springfield’s sister city relationship with Isesaki, Japan (formed in 1986). Each year, a delegation of Isesaki citizens travels to Springfield to contribute to the festival through demonstrations and interactions with attendees.

SCHEDULE | PERFORMERS | ACTIVITIES | VOLUNTEER | PROGRAM

We proudly present the 23rd annual Japanese Fall Festival on Friday-Sunday, September 7-9, 2018 in the beautiful Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Gardens located within the extraordinary Springfield Botanical Gardens at Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park, 2400 S. Scenic Ave., Springfield, Mo.

Festival hours are 5:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m. on Friday, September 7; 11:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 8; and 11:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 9.

Admission for adults is $10 on Saturday, September 8 and $7 on Friday and Sunday, September 7 and 9. Children 12 and younger are $3 on any day.

Our members receive free entry all weekend. An annual membership ranges in price from $5 for a student to $50 for a family; to join, please click here or call 417-864-1341.

Pets are welcome; standard park rules apply.

The Japanese Fall Festival is a celebration of authentic Japanese culture highlighting our 32-year-old sister city relationship with Isesaki, Japan. Each year, a delegation of Isesaki citizens travels to Springfield to contribute to the festival through demonstrations and interactions with attendees.

In response, we send a local group to perform at Isesaki’s city festival each year. These groups make an appearance at the Japanese Fall Festival: Uke 66, recently performed in Isesaki; The Creek Rocks, performing in Isesaki in 2018; and The Shandies, performing in Isesaki in 2019.

The Japanese Folk Dance Institute of New York headlines the Japanese Fall Festival through its professional performance group, Minbuza. “Minbuza” means “folk dance group” in Japanese. The performers introduce audiences to the culture and history of Japan through their extensive collection of authentic music and colorful costumes and props which enable them to perform traditional dances from all around Japan. They also highlight interesting customs throughout their performances.

Favorite Japanese performers and groups returning to the festival include St. Louis Osuwa Taiko, ensemble drummers; Karin Amano, storyteller; Mr. Hiroshi Tada, top spinner; and Tracy’s Kenpo Karate Studios of Southwest Missouri, martial arts demonstrators.

Kizuna, Springfield’s Japan America Friendship Club, returns to the festival to facilitate Japanese activities like yukata taiken, cotton kimono dress up; chadokoro, a tea café; and chanoyu, traditional tea ceremonies. The tea ceremonies require same-day advance registration.

Also returning to the festival is the children’s activity area featuring traditional Japanese games and crafts as led by Kazumi Holcomb’s Japanese language students from Kickapoo High School.

In addition to numerous vendor and artisan booths featuring wares authentic to Japanese culture, guests will enjoy the Nihon Bunka Taiken Tent (Japanese culture experience tent), the Omiyage and Dagashi Tent (souvenirs and snacks tent), and concessions.

Beginning at dusk on Friday and Saturday, September 7 and 8, hundreds of torches light the garden pathways and soft Japanese music fills the air to create a romantic strolling atmosphere until 10:00 p.m.

Springfield Cosplay closes the festival at 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 9 with a Cosplay Showcase. “Cosplay” stands for “costume role play.” Participants typically portray characters from Japanese pop culture. All are invited to participate. Register as early as Wednesday, August 1 by e-mailing springfieldcosplay@gmail.com; you may also register during the festival at the Springfield Cosplay booth.

Hundreds of volunteers are needed to work the Japanese Fall Festival. Please click here to view available volunteer opportunities and sign up for your preferred shift(s). 

New vendors and artisans are always welcome. Please click here to view requirements and fill out an application.

Springfield Sister Cities Association donates half of the Japanese Fall Festival’s proceeds to the maintenance and development of the Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden. The remaining proceeds benefit cultural programs which further Springfield Sister Cities Association’s mission of “Peace through People.”

Support for the Japanese Fall Festival is provided by Chase, Friends of the Garden, Springfield-Greene County Park Board, City of Springfield, Springfield Public Schools, Ozarks Coca-Cola, and Wyndham Vacations.

For more information regarding the Japanese Fall Festival or Springfield Sister Cities Association, please call 417-864-1341.

 

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