The Nikkei Matsuri is a two-day Japanese festival held in Burnaby at the Nikkei National Museum and Cultural Centre on the first weekend in September.
In 2019 the Nikkei Matsuri takes place on August 31st and September 1st.
At the event there are tea ceremonies, numerous performances, a marketplace, food vendors and a variety of family-friendly activities. In years with good weather over 13,000 people attend over the course of the weekend.
When is the Nikkei Matsuri?
The Nikkei Matsuri takes place on the last Saturday and Sunday of the summer, just before kids return to school, so on the Labour Day weekend. It usually starts at 11 am on both days and runs until 7 pm. In 2019 the Saturday and Sunday of the holiday weekend are August 31st and September 1st.
Where is the Nikkei Matsuri?
Parking & Transportation
Limited parking is available at the Nikkei Centre’s underground parkade for about $12 per day and can be reserved in advance through the Nikkei Matsuri website, although some years those spaces sell out well before the event day. Limited day parking is also available on site on event day.
Guests are encouraged to take public transit and a free festival shuttle is available most years between the Nikkei Centre and nearby Edmonds SkyTrain Station with departures every thirty minutes or so between about 11 am and 7 pm.
Admission to limited festival activities outdoors in the Garden at the Nikkei Centre is free. Admission to indoor activities, however, which includes a marketplace, workshops, Game Zone and main stage performance, costs about $4 per person and $14 for a family of four. Children ages 4 and under are free.
Nikkei Matsuri Activities
The Nikkei Matsuri is a Japanese community festival featuring a wide range of activities including live performances and a Game Zone, as well as a small marketplace, a Japanese used book sale and opportunities to try on a yukata (which is a type of summer kimono).
Entertainment at the Nikkei Matsuri includes performances by various local singing and dance groups, Taiko drummers and other performers. Some performances are indoors and some are outside in the garden. See below for the 2019 schedule of events.
Matsuri Game Zone
Popular with children at the Nikkei Matsuri is the Game Zone which includes a variety of simple midway-type games where you buy tokens to play and have the chance to win prizes. Game Zone activities most years include a ring toss, balloon darts, bean bag toss and other games that young kids enjoy.
2019 Festival Performers
Highlights of the 2019 Nikkei Matsuri include the following activities and performances:
On the Saturday (August 31, 2019)
- 11:00 am – Sansho Daiko – a Japanese taiko drumming group.
- 12:00 pm – Opening Ceremonies
- 12:45 pm – Rakuichi – a music and dance group that entertains with omikoshi demonstrations (i.e., the carrying of a portable Shinto shrine) and Shishi Mai (lion dancing).
- 12:45 pm – J Shimizu & Satsuki-Kai
- 1:30 pm – Martial Arts Demonstrations
- 2:00 pm – Shooting Star Idols
- 3:00 pm – Bon Odori with Satsuki-Kai & Sansho Daiko
- 3:30 pm – Bug and Stu
- 4:15 pm – Wailele Wai Wai
- 5:00 pm – Matsuri Star Talent
On the Sunday (September 1, 2019)
- 11:00 am – Chibi Taiko – a children’s Japanese taiko drumming group.
- 11:30 am – Seishun Youth Academy
- 12:30 pm – Kotojiro
- 1:00 pm – Martial Arts Demonstrations
- 1:30 pm – Matsuri Star Power
- 2:30 pm – Sakura Singers
- 3:00 pm – Bon Odori with Satsuki-Kai & Chibi Taiko
- 3:30 pm – Koto Ensemble
- 4:30 pm – Vancouver Okinawa Taiko
- 5:15 pm – Matsuri Star Talent – a talent competition featuring 20 contestants and a grand prize of $500. The finals take place indoors from 5 until 7 pm in the Special Events Hall.
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
- Sakura Days Japan Fair – a Japanese festival celebrating cherry blossom season at VanDusen Botanical Garden in April.
- Powell Street Festival – a Japanese-themed event in Vancouver’s Downtown East Side over the BC Day August Long Weekend
- Vancouver History & Culture – a list of some of the region’s most interesting cultural events and places of interest.