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Vancouver’s Japanese Nikkei Matsuri Festival

Nikkei Matsuri Festival

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.

Nikkei Matsuri

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.

Labour Day Weekend Activities

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.

Nikkei Matsuri at Nikkei Centre
The Nikkei Matsuri Outside the Nikkei Centre

Where is the Nikkei Matsuri?

The Nikkei Matsuri is held at the Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre at 6688 Southoaks Crescent which is a short drive west of Metrotown just off Kingsway in Burnaby.

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.

Festival Admission

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.

Miyake-kai Taiko Drummers
Miyake-kai Taiko Drummers at the Nikkei Matsuri

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).

Matsuri Performances

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.

Japanese Choir at Festival
The Sakura Singers

2019 Festival Performers

Highlights of the 2019 Nikkei Matsuri include the following activities and performances:

On the Saturday (August 31, 2019)

  • 11:00 amSansho 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 pmJ Shimizu & Satsuki-Kai
  • 1:30 pm Martial Arts Demonstrations
  • 2:00 pmShooting Star Idols
  • 3:00 pmBon Odori with Satsuki-Kai & Sansho Daiko
  • 3:30 pmBug and Stu
  • 4:15 pmWailele Wai Wai
  • 5:00 pmMatsuri Star Talent
Vancouver Okinawa Taiko Drummers
Vancouver Okinawa Taiko

On the Sunday (September 1, 2019)

  • 11:00 amChibi Taiko – a children’s Japanese taiko drumming group.
  • 11:30 amSeishun Youth Academy
  • 12:30 pmKotojiro
  • 1:00 pmMartial Arts Demonstrations
  • 1:30 pmMatsuri Star Power
  • 2:30 pmSakura Singers
  • 3:00 pmBon Odori with Satsuki-Kai & Chibi Taiko
  • 3:30 pmKoto Ensemble
  • 4:30 pmVancouver Okinawa Taiko
  • 5:15 pmMatsuri 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.

Free Events in September

Other Information

For more information on the festival see the Nikkei Matsuri website and for details on the venue and organization behind the event click Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre.

For a list of other events taking place in the Lower Mainland this month and at other times of the year see Vancouver’s September Calendar or Festivals & Events Calendar.

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.




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