Vancouver’s Nikkei Place in Burnaby is home to the Nikkei National Museum, a Japanese-Canadian cultural centre and various events throughout the year.
It’s a multi-purpose facility located at 6688 Southoaks Crescent just off Kingsway.
Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre
The Nikkei National Museum is a small museum that showcases the history and culture of Japanese-Canadians in Canada. Located within the same facility, the Nikkei Cultural Centre is a Japanese-Canadian community centre that puts on events and activities for the general public.
The Nikkei Cultural Centre hosts seniors’ activities, cooking classes and arts, culture and fitness programs, as well as Japanese language lessons, children’s camps and martial arts classes.
In addition to the museum, at Nikkei Place there is a seniors’ housing facility, the Hi Genki Japanese Restaurant (which gets good reviews), and a Japanese garden. In addition to limited on-street parking, there is also a parkade underground.
“Nikkei” (pronounced “nee-kay”), means a person of Japanese descent living abroad. There are many Canadians of Japanese ancestry living in the Vancouver region, and their history is an important part of both Canadian and British Columbian history. Nikkei Place, since its opening in 2000, is at the heart of the local Japanese-Canadian community in Metro Vancouver.
Nikkei Centre Events
Nikkei Place hosts a number of events every year when there isn’t a global pandemic. The largest is the annual Nikkei Matsuri which happens on the Labour Day weekend in early September. At this event there is live entertainment, market vendors and family-friendly games and activities. It’s a great festival, especially for folk who like Japanese culture and food!
Events that take place at Nikkei Place most years are listed below. (Note: Event details and dates are subject to change and not all events take place every year.)
- Family Day Festival & Book Sale – family-friendly activities and Japanese books for purchase on the Family Day weekend in February.
- O Hanami – a spring festival celebrating Japanese culture and cherry blossoms in April.
- Spring Bazaar & Plant Sale – an event featuring market vendors and garden products for sale in May.
- Tanabata – a Japanese star festival in July.
- Nikkei Matsuri – the largest and most significant event of the year at the Nikkei Centre which takes place on the first weekend in September.
- Craft & Bake Fair – a craft market with baked goods in November.
- Nikkei Holiday Boutique – a Christmas artisan market in December.
The above are just some of the many events that take place at the facility. There are more. To learn about events coming up in the future click Nikkei Centre Events.
O Hanami in Spring
A cherry-blossom spring event at the Nikkei Centre is O Hanami. In 2020 it was going to take place on the weekend of April 3rd and 4th, but, because of concerns about the coronavirus, it was cancelled. The event will hopefully take place again in its usual format in April 2022. As of February, its status is TBD.
At the family-friendly event, in years when it does take place, activities at O Hanami include Japanese dance and Taiko-drumming performances. There are also opportunities to try on a kimono, take part in a tea ceremony, admire Japanese art and watch martial arts demonstrations. Young children can find fun things to do too. There is also of course a variety of traditional Japanese festival foods including, most years, items like takoyaki (which has octopus inside and is one of our favourites).
In 2020 the event was going to take place on Friday, April 3rd, from 6:00 until 10:00 pm, and on Saturday, April 4th, from 11:00 am until 4:00 pm. Admission was $5 on the Friday and $3 on the Saturday, but free for kids under the age of 5 and members of the Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre.
For details about the event click O Hanami.
About the Museum
The Nikkei National Museum showcases the history and culture of Japanese-Canadians living in the Lower Mainland, BC and Canada. It’s a tiny museum, but interesting.
The museum is open between 10:00 am and 5:00 pm from Tuesday to Saturday. It’s closed on most Sundays, Mondays and statutory holidays.
Visitors to the museum learn about the history of Japanese immigrants to Canada, their descendants and their contributions to Canadian society. You’ll learn about the sad history of internment camps during World War II, discrimination and other challenges that Japanese Canadians have faced. You’ll also learn about sports achievements and other successes, and what life was like for new immigrants and the Japanese community in Vancouver. At the museum there are artifacts in display cases, photos and information to read.
Admission to the museum is $5 for adults which helps offset the costs of operating the facility for the non-profit society. Students can visit the museum for free.
For more information about the museum and cultural centre, check out the Nikkei Place website.
To learn about upcoming events at the facility click Nikkei Centre Events.
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
- Sakura Days Japan Fair – a Japanese-themed festival celebrating “hanami” (i.e., cherry blossom-viewing season) at VanDusen Garden in April.
- Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival – a series of events (including the Sakura Days Japan Fair) celebrating Japanese cherry blossoms in Vancouver in April.
- Powell Street Festival – a Japanese-themed festival on the BC Day holiday weekend in August.
- Nikkei Matsuri – the Japanese festival held at the Nikkei Cultural Centre on the September long weekend.
- Steveston Village – a touristy waterfront neighbourhood in Richmond that’s home to historic buildings and Japanese-Canadian history.
- Vancouver History & Culture – a list of places in the Lower Mainland to learn about culture and history.