Forget the flights, you can enjoy a little piece of Japan right here in the middle of London. Japan Matsuri is a free annual celebration of Japanese culture; expect music, magic, dance, tasty eats, martial arts demonstrations, games and activities.
Full details are yet to be announced, but the opening ceremony will feature Taiko drummers, followed by a mikoshi procession. Martial arts demonstrations come from the largest children’s kendo dojo in London, the art of Ryukyu Kobujyutsu with 7th Dan master Shihan Julian Mead and London Aikikai Traditional Aikido.
Now in its twelfth year, the iconic festival will be serving up street food and Izakaya-style small plates from a range of Japanese restaurants, including the Fukuoka-style ramen bars Shoryu and Heddon Yokochō, home-style Osakan dishes such as Okonomiyaki, Teppanyaki and gyoza from Okan and sushi from restaurant Mugen in Clerkenwell, amongst many others.
And if it’s music and dance you’re after, then you’re in for a treat. Japan Matsuri is bringing Awa Odori, Japan’s largest dance festival, to London with traditional folk dancers and musicians; a famous festival song says, ‘踊る阿呆に、見る阿呆、同じ阿呆なら、踊らな損、損’ (The dancers are fools, and the watchers are fools. If both are fools, why not dance?) so be prepared to join in! If you’d rather just watch then don’t miss the graceful Nihon Buyo performed by kimono-clad dancers and also ‘Magic Fingers’ guitarist Hide Takemoto, who was classically trained in both Japan and London.
This event is suitable for mini Cheapos and adults alike, so get down early to experience (and taste) it all!Organisers may cancel events, alter schedules, or change admission requirements without notice. Always check official sites before heading to an event.