Springfield Sister Cities Association proudly presents 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. Members of Springfield Sister Cities Association receive free entry all weekend. An annual membership ranges in price from $5 for a student to $50 for a family; join online at peacethroughpeople.org or by calling 417-864-1341.
The Japanese Fall Festival is a celebration of authentic Japanese culture highlighting Springfield’s 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, Springfield sends 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.
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 chayonu, 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 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 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 visit peacethroughpeople.org or call 417-864-1341.