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A woman holds a fan at the city's Japan Day parade.
Photograph: Shutterstock / Steve Edreff

A guide to the Japan Parade in NYC

Celebrate Japanese culture with the Japan Parade when NYC transforms into the Land of the Rising Sun along Central Park.

Rossilynne Skena Culgan
Written by
Rossilynne Skena Culgan

Japan Day in NYC has always been a joyful celebration of Japanese culture, and now's there's a massive Japan Day Parade along Central Park West to amplify the fun. 

The season for things to do outside has arrived along with lush trees and blooming tulips at NYC parks, so what better way to spend an afternoon than by soaking up the sun at this Japanese celebration? With newly released details, it’s safe to say that this massive cultural event is certainly one of the best things to do in spring.

The Japan Parade began for the first time in 2022, and it's back again for 2024. The first parade was a historic moment, according to the Consulate General of Japan in New York, which initiated the project. Originally, the parade was planned for 2020 to commemorate the 160th anniversary of the first Japanese delegates’ visit to the U.S. in 1860, as well as the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, but it was cancelled because of the pandemic.

The event seeks to celebrate and promote the cultural exchange and friendship between the United States and Japan. 

Martial arts during the Japan Day Parade.
Photograph: Shutterstock / Steve Edreff

When is the Japan Parade?

Japan Day is on Saturday, May 11, 2024.

What time is the Japan Parade?

The parade begins at 1pm. 

Where is the Japan Parade?

Along Central Park West between 81st Street and 67th Street (heading south toward 67th Street).

Who and what will march in the Japan Parade?

Athlete Shingo Kunieda will be the parade's Grand Marshal. He's a former professional wheelchair tennis champion, four-time paralympic gold medalist, and a recipient of the People’s Honour Award of Japan.

Special for 2024, the cast of "Demon Slayer: The Stage," will march in the parade. Expect special appearances by Tanjiro Kamado, Inosuke Hashibira, Kyojuro Rengoku, and Shinobu Kocho from the 2.5D theater adaptation of the hit manga series.

Also expect to see dance performances, musicians, marching bands, martial arts and traditional costumes at the parade.

What other activities will be happening?

The Japan Street Fair (the successor to Japan Day at Central Park) will be held concurrently on West 72nd Street between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue. The street fair runs from 11am-5pm.

Actitives include calligraphy, water balloon yo-yo fishing, origami, photo opportunities and more. Plus, there will be plenty food to purchase from more than 20 vendors in partnership with JAPAN Fes. Event organizers say The Japan Street Fair is your chance to experience a Japanese festival, or matsuri, unlike any other.

What is the goal of the event?

"The purpose of the parade is to celebrate, express, and bring awareness to the friendship between NYC and Japan with a thank you from the Japanese community," event organizers say.

Find things to do this spring