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SPRINGFIELD, MO — Springfield Sister Cities Association, in partnership with the Springfield-Greene County Park Board, proudly presents the 27th Japanese Fall Festival Friday-Sunday, September 8-10, 2023, in beautiful Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden located within the extraordinary Springfield Botanical Gardens at Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park, 2400 S. Scenic Ave., Springfield, Mo.
The Japanese Fall Festival is a celebration of authentic Japanese culture highlighting Springfield’s 37-year sister city relationship with Isesaki, Japan. A number of Isesaki citizens will attend the festival to visit with guests and share their culture.
The ancient art of sumo will be on full display in the Ozarks as three title-winning USA Sumo wrestlers battle it out on the festival stage. Witness their strength and agility up close and personal, and maybe even challenge one of these champions to a match.
Several acts are back by popular demand, including: Uzumaru, a Yosakoi dance ensemble from San Jose’s Japantown; Yasu Ishida, a storyteller and magician originally from Ube, Japan; and Seiran Chiba, a large-scale calligrapher from the Fukushima prefecture in Japan.
Other favorite performers returning to the festival include St. Louis Osuwa Taiko, ensemble drummers; Kizuna, Springfield’s Japan America friendship club; Tracy’s Kenpo Karate Studios of Southwest Missouri, martial arts demonstrators; Springfield Cosplay, costume role play demonstrators; and KiRa KiRa Springfield, cosplay dance team.
In addition to numerous vendor and artisan booths featuring wares authentic to Japanese culture, guests will enjoy the Japanese culture experience tent where you can meet people from Isesaki, the souvenir market and a food court. Register for a variety of workshops including amezaiku, bonsai, kokedama, ikebana, kintsugi and martial arts.
The festival offers cultural opportunities geared toward children including an activity area featuring traditional Japanese games and crafts led by Japanese language students from Kickapoo High School. These opportunities end by dusk each evening.
Beginning at dusk on Friday and Saturday, September 8 and 9, hundreds of torches light the garden pathways and soft Japanese music fills the air to create a romantic strolling atmosphere. Purchase a wishing lantern and set your dreams afloat on one of the koi ponds.
Festival hours are 5 p.m.-10 p.m. on Friday, September 8; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. on Saturday, September 9; and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. on Sunday, September 10.
Admission for adults is $14 on Saturday, September 9 and $9 on Friday and Sunday, September 8 and 10. Children ages 3-12 are $4 on any day.
Cosplay Day in partnership with Springfield Cosplay is Sunday, September 10; come to the festival in your cosplay (costume role play) to receive $4 admission.
Members of Springfield Sister Cities Association receive free entry all weekend. An annual membership ranges in price from $10 for a student to $60 for a family; join and view additional membership benefits at peacethroughpeople.org/membership.
Hundreds of volunteers are needed to work the Japanese Fall Festival; volunteers receive free entry to the festival on the day of their shift. For more information and to sign up, please visit peacethroughpeople.org/jff.
New vendor applications are welcome; proposed booths must be authentic to Japanese culture for consideration. For more information, please visit peacethroughpeople.org/jff.
Support for the Japanese Fall Festival is provided by Missouri Arts Council, Mid Missouri Bank, Missouri State University’s Department of World Languages and Cultures, Renewal by Anderson and Chase. Sponsorship opportunities are available and start at $600; learn more at peacethroughpeople.org/jff.
Springfield Sister Cities Association donates half of the Japanese Fall Festival’s admission proceeds to the maintenance and development of the Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden which is sponsored by Simmons Bank. The remaining proceeds benefit cultural programs which further Springfield Sister Cities Association’s mission of “Peace through People.”
Springfield Sister Cities Association is a nonprofit organization that transcends cultural boundaries to facilitate peace and understanding between the people of Springfield, Mo. and its sister cities. Springfield has two sister cities: its relationship with Isesaki, Japan was formed in 1986; its relationship with Tlaquepaque, Mexico was formed in 2003.
For more information regarding the Japanese Fall Festival or Springfield Sister Cities Association, please visit peacethroughpeople.org or call 417-864-1191.
For media inquiries, contact Lisa Bakerink, Executive Director of Springfield Sister Cities Association, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 417-864-1341.