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The Japanese-Canadian Powell Street Festival in 2018

Powell Street Festival

The Powell Street Festival celebrates Japanese-Canadian culture in and around East Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park during the BC Day Long Weekend each year.

Japanese Powell Street Festival

The Powell Street Festival includes live performances, vendor stalls, Japanese festival foods, cultural demonstrations and walking tours around the neighbourhood. It’s a great festival and admission is free.


Information in this article includes the following:

When & Where | Festival Activities | Saturday Schedule | Sunday Schedule | Tips & Advice | Other Information

Click any of the above links to jump to specific information, or continue reading to learn all about the Powell Street Festival.


Powell Street Festival Venue
Oppenheimer Park during the Powell Street Festival

When and Where

In 2018 the Powell Street Festival happens on the Saturday and Sunday of August 4th and 5th from 11:30 am until the early evening each day.

The festival activities take place primarily at Oppenheimer Park, but also close by at the Firehall Arts Centre, Vancouver Japanese Language School and Japanese Hall, and the Vancouver Buddhist Temple.

Venue Locations

Oppenheimer Park is a small grassy park in the 400 block of Powell Street in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. The Firehall Arts Centre is a theatre located in a historic fire station building at 280 East Cordova Street.

The Vancouver Japanese Language School is located at 475 Alexander Street and the Vancouver Buddhist Temple is at 220 Jackson Avenue. All four venues are located within about three blocks of one another.

Note: Oppenheimer Park is located in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES) which isn’t known for being the nicest part of the city. Despite its reputation, however, it’s safe and located just a few blocks north of Vancouver’s historic Chinatown.

If you like Japanese food and culture, don’t let the location stop you from attending. On festival day especially it’s safe, plus it’s a very interesting and historically significant part of the city.

Sumo Ring at Japanese Festival
Sumo Wrestling Ring at Oppenheimer Park

Japanese Festival Activities

At the Powell Street Festival there are Japanese art and cultural displays, Japanese and other types of food for sale, market stalls, martial arts demonstrations, various forms of live entertainment, and workshops showcasing Japanese culture and heritage. There is even sumo wrestling!

Some of the highlights of the Powell Street Festival in 2018 are listed below.


Saturday, August 4th, 2018


  • 11:30 am – Opening Ceremony
  • 12:00 to 2:00 pm – Palm Origami (at the Children’s Tent)
  • 12:00 to 5:00 pm – Photo and Art Exhibits (at the Centre A Gallery)
  • 12:00 to 5:30 pm – the Firehall Arts Centre hosts various genres of entertainment including presentations, film, pop culture and book reading
  • 2:00, 4:15 & 6:30 pm – Taiko Drumming (at the Diamond Stage)
  • 2:00 & 4:00 pm – Powell Street Historical Walking Tours (in English).  A tour in Japanese is also offered at 3:00 pm. (Meet at the main entrance lobby of the Vancouver Japanese Language School)
  • 2:30, 3:30, 4:45 & 6:00 pm – various forms of martial arts demonstrations (in the Demonstration Area)
  • 2:30 & 4:30 pm – Vancouver Buddhist Temple Sanctuary Tours

Other activities at various times throughout the day include dance, drama and music, art exhibits and cultural exchanges through presentations, demonstrations and displays. (Note: times and locations are subject to change.)

Japanese Choir at Festival
The Sakura Singers

Sunday, August 5th, 2018


A selection of activities, displays and exhibits continue on Sunday including the following:

  • 11:30 to 5:00 pm – various martial arts demonstrations, including sumo wrestling at 4:00 pm (in the Demonstration Area).
  • 12:00 to 2:00 pm – various children’s activities in the Children’s Tent. (Note: some require pre-registration.)
  • 12:00 pm – The Sakura Singers (on the Diamond Stage)
  • 1:30 pm – Japanese Taiko Drumming (on the Diamond Stage)
  • 2:00 & 3:00 pm – Powell Street Walking Tours (meeting at the main entrance lobby of the Vancouver Japanese Language School)
  • 2:30 & 4:30 pm – Vancouver Buddhist Temple Sanctuary Tours

Tips and Advice

Below are some tips to help you make the most out of your experience at the Powell Street Festival.

TIP #1: Join one of the walking tours. They are very interesting and worth checking out.

TIP #2: A couple of our favourite Japanese festival foods are okonomiyaki (a kind of savory cabbage pancake) and tacoyaki (Yorkshire pudding-like balls with pieces of octopus inside). We recommend you try them out if you see them for sale.

TIP #3: If you like this kind of event and Japanese culture, other festivals you might be interested in at other times of the year include the following:

Powell Street Festival Food Vendors
Food vendors at the Powell Street Festival

Other Information

For full details on what is happening at the Powell Street Festival, see the 2018 Festival Schedule or the Powell Street Festival website.

For a list of other events happening on the first Saturday, Sunday and Holiday Monday in August, click BC Day Long Weekend.

For information on other festivals in the Lower Mainland, see the Festivals & Events Calendar.

BC Day Long Weekend