Warm greetings to you all!

Warm greetings from Jennifer King (Chair, Japan Festival Wellington Trust), Hiroyasu Kobayashi (Ambassador of Japan), Justin Lester (Mayor of Wellington) and Simon Draper (Executive Director/CEO, Asia New Zealand Foundation) below.

jenniferJennifer King – Chair, Japan Festival Wellington Trust


Welcome to the sixth Japan Festival Wellington – and the very first to be organised by the newly formed Wellington Japan Festival Trust, supported by Wellington City Council and the Embassy of Japan. It has been a great pleasure to work with my fellow Trustees and all our talented volunteers to bring this exciting family event to our capital city. Whether it’s the gracious tea ceremony, breathtaking kendo swordplay, thrilling taiko drumming or the refined art of haiku poetry, the Japan Festival truly has something for everyone. This year’s highlights include funky shamisen artist Noriko Tadano and fabulous chindonya-style taiko duo YuNiOn from Sydney, supported by a great line-up of local talent. So come along and enjoy all the action along with a taste of your favourite Japanese snacks.

We hope you enjoy the festival as much as we have enjoyed putting it together.


jp_ambHiroyasu Kobayashi – Ambassador of Japan

It is a great honour and pleasure for me to welcome you all to the Japan Festival of Wellington 2018, so soon after my arrival to New Zealand as Ambassador of Japan. I am very happy to be in New Zealand participating in this event.

Japan and New Zealand have already been enjoying such a strong and friendly relationship, which I expect will flourish even more in the upcoming years. The Rugby World Cup will be held in Japan next year, and the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games in the following year. Through these events, I sincerely hope to strengthen even more these warm ties our two countries already have.

Past Japan Festivals were very popular and successful in introducing Japanese culture to the people of Wellington. Japan Festival Wellington 2018 follows those marvellous experiences.

I would like to extend my sincere thanks to the Wellington City Council for all of their support organising this event, and also to the members of the Japan Festival Trust, whose hard work and dedication for preparing this Festival was invaluable. It is hard to believe that they achieved this much in their very first year!

The Japan Festival of Wellington will offer you Japanese food, music, performance and much more of the Japanese culture. It will introduce the various characteristics of Japan and its people. There is surely something everyone can enjoy. I strongly hope for the success of Japan Festival Wellington 2018. Let’s enjoy this festival together!


wlg_mayorJustin Lester – Mayor of Wellington

Hello, こんにちは konnichiwa. Welcome to the Japan Festival 2018!

The sixth Japan Festival Wellington is upon us, presenting the opportunity to experience both traditional and modern Japanese culture in Aotearoa. This festival brings a little bit of Japan to Wellington for everyone to enjoy, as we celebrate our city’s relations with the nation of Japan and our sister city, Sakai.

Japan is a beautiful country that offers amazing sights, exquisite cuisine, fascinating history and a culture rich with meaningful traditions. I encourage everyone to make the most of this year’s festival as a chance to get to know the culture and learn something new. The festival may also provide an opportunity for some of you to connect with your Japanese heritage. Either way, there’s a lot to see, do and eat today – I know you’ll have a fantastic time.

Let’s enjoy together, いっしょに楽しみましょう, issho ni tanoshimi mashou!



Simon Draper – Executive Director/CEO, Asia New Zealand Foundation

Warm greetings to the 2018 Wellington Japan Festival.

We know from the Asia New Zealand Foundation’s work over the last 24 years that New Zealanders learn about Asia a number of ways, and these festival experiences play a really important role in helping New Zealanders understand and gain confidence with Asia. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Foundation supports initiatives like the Japan Festival. It gives Wellingtonians and visitors from out of town an opportunity to experience some of the richness of Japanese culture. We have a longstanding friendship with Japan and it is a relationship New Zealanders feel particularly warm towards. There are longstanding tourism and business connections between our two countries. That said we should continue to find ways to grow our relationship and strengthen our cultural and social ties. Events like this Japan Festival are an obvious way to do just that.

Enjoy the festival.

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