Jennifer King at Te PapaA big thank you from the Wellington Japan Festival Trust to all the performers, stall holders, exhibitors, volunteers and the thousands of Wellingtonians who made the sixth Japan Festival Wellington such a runaway success.

Capacity crowds poured into the TSB Arena on Saturday to enjoy stage performances, craft stalls, delicious Japanese snacks (special mention goes to the wasabi icecream), and exhibitions ranging from children’s paintings to bonsai and ikebana.

The many activities on offer proved popular with adults and kids alike. Festival-goers queued up to try their hand at calligraphy, learn how to fold origami, watch a tea ceremony and take part in taiko  drumming workshops.

Proud parents watched on as their children, safely cocooned inside padded sumo suits, wrestled each other to the ground. And for the more culturally minded, the Festival offered LIFElike Japan, a captivating exhibition of contemporary art.

Highlights also included YuNiOn chindonya and shamisen sensation Noriko Tadano, both from Sydney.

“It was a great team effort,” said Jennifer King, chair of the Wellington Japan Festival Trust.

“This was the first Japan Festival to be staged by the Trust. Our heartfelt thanks go to all the wonderful people who willingly gave of their time and talents to make this event such an amazing success.”

The official launch of the Festival held two days earlier at Te Papa was attended by Mayor Justin Lester and Ambassador Hiroyasu Kobayashi as well as representatives of Wellington’s sister city Sakai and Atsugi City, host to New Zealand teams during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

On Friday a Japan Festival Business Breakfast was held at the Grand Hall in Parliament, hosted by the Wellington Chamber of Commerce, Wellington City Council and Asia New Zealand Foundation.

Keep an eye out over the coming days for our Festival photo gallery!

Wellington Japan Festival Trust

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