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Japanese Cultural Festival returns for 22nd year in Esquimalt at new venue

Gorge Park Pavilion sits on important historical site for Japanese community
The Japanese Cultural Festival, featuring the Uminari Taiko drummers amongst other activities, is returning in person to a different venue, the new Esquimalt Gorge Park Pavilion. (Courtesy of Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society)

Residents are set to say konnichiwa once again to an in-person Japanese Cultural Fair, with the 22nd event planned for Aug. 27 at the new Esquimalt Gorge Park Pavilion.

The pavilion is important to the region’s Japanese community, according to Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society president Tsugio Kurushima. The new pavilion was built near a site where the Takata family operated a garden and tea house from 1907 until the family was uprooted and sent to an internment camp during the Second World War.

“It’s exciting for us to be back in person for the first time in three years, and to mark that return at such an important location for the Japanese community,” Kurushima said in a statement. “We’re coming back as strong as ever with our normal blend of culture, traditional arts, local history and Japanese delicacies.”

The festival will include activities and performances featuring a wide array of Japanese culture, from tea ceremony demonstrations and a performance by the popular Uminari Taiko drumming group, to a talk on fermentation and Japanese cuisine.

There will also be a guided tour of the Takata garden a short walk away in the park. The festival happens Saturday, Aug. 27 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Parking is available on site, but visitors are encouraged to walk, cycle or take transit.

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