Japan Day @ Central Park



Japan Day, Japan Day @ Central Park, Central Park, NYC, Japan, Japanese food, cherry blossoms, sakura, Kumamoto, Akiko Yano, Okinawan dance, karate, taiko, robots, trains, kabuki, calligraphy, Domo, Hello Kitty, Sanrio, NHK
Artwork by Huy Voun Lee

Japan Day @ Central Park

Sunday, May 8 from 9:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

Naumberg Bandshell and Rumsey Playfield at Central Park (Enter at 69th Street and 5th Avenue)

Admission: Free

Japan Day @ Central Park, a festival that celebrates the diversity of Japanese culture through food, activities, and performances, will mark its 10th anniversary on Mother’s Day, May 8.

The activity tents open at 9:30 a.m., where you and your family can enjoy learning Japanese words and phrases, calligraphy, and origami. You can have your face painted to look like a Kabuki character, play YoYo Fishing, try on yukata, and pose for pictures with Sanrio’s Hello Kitty and Domo from NHK.

If you like trains and technology, you’re in for a treat. You can try on a Japanese railroad conductor’s uniform and learn what it’s like to drive a bullet train on JR Group’s simulator. See a model of JR Central’s latest Rolling Stock “Series L0” Super Conducting Maglev. The world of nanoscale is made up close and personal with a tabletop scanning microscope courtesy of Hitachi America. PARO, the adorable seal robot that serves as a neurological therapeutic medical device, and Pepper, SoftBank’s humanoid companion, will have tents at Japan Day @ Central Park!

Participants of the Japan Day Art Contest will display their artworks, including winner Huy Voun Lee’s submission, whose work is the official artwork of Japan Day @ Central Park.

Former NY1 reporter Sandra Endo hosts the exciting performances at the Rumsey Playfield. Feel the energy of traditional dances, taiko drumming, a karate demonstration, and much more. Celebrated Jazz pianist/vocalist Akiko Yano will provide the final performance of what promises to be a great day.


10:30am ~ Soh Daiko – Japanese Taiko Drumming

10:50am ~ Tamagusuku Ryu Senjukai – Okinawan Dance

11:10am ~ Speeches/Proclamation

11:20am ~ East Japan Earthquake Relief Efforts – Ceremony of Appreciation

11:30am ~ Japan Day Art Contest Award Ceremony

11:45am ~ Taisan Tanaka – Japanese Style Paint


12:30pm ~ International Karate Organization Kyokushinkaikan – Karate Demonstration

12:50pm ~ Rio Koike – Magic/Comedy

1:10pm ~ Mikoshi Parade

1:20pm ~ Bon Odori with Japanese Folk Dance Institute of NY – Bon Odori

1:40pm ~ Seiji Sugiura – Calligraphy

2:00pm ~ Katsura Sunshine – Rakugo (Traditional Japanese Comic Storytelling)

2:20pm ~ OMOTENASHI Journey / N-Project – Musical


3:00pm ~ Brown Rice Family – World Roots Music

3:20pm ~ COBU – Japanese Taiko Drumming & Dance

3:40pm ~ Miki Orihara with Senri Oe – Dance

3:45pm ~ Senri Oe – Jazz

4:05pm ~ Akiko Yano – Piano & Vocal[/callout]

Of course, it wouldn’t be Japan Day without Japanese food. Several vendors will be on hand to provide samples of ramen by Sun Noodle, Ajinomoto North America’s gyoza, okonomiyaki from Otafuku Foods, yakisoba by BentOn Cafe, ITOCHU’s onigiri, handcrafted candy knows as amezaiku by Usagi-ya, Japanese snacks provided by TABLE FOR TWO USA and Meiji America, and ITO EN tea.

This year, Japan Day is accepting donations to help support the relief efforts in Kumamoto and Oita Prefectures, which suffered heavy damage due to two massive earthquakes on April 14 ad 16. With your donation of $20 or more, you will receive a Japan Day Original Charity T-shirt, featuring original artwork by Huy Voun Lee. All donations collected at the Charity Tent will go directly to the Consulate-General of Japan Relief Fund for Kumamoto.

It’ll be a great day of Japanese culture, so take Mom to Central Park to celebrate! For more information, please visit Japan Day @ Central Park’s website.