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Things to do during Japan Day in NYC

Celebrate Japanese culture with Japan Day! NYC transforms into the Land of the Rising Sun at this Central Park event.

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Photograph: Courtesy Mark Doyle

If you’ve never experienced the joys of Japan Day—NYC’s celebration of Japanese culture—now’s your chance. 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 during Central Park’s annual Japanese rager? NYC will bring Japan to you at this fun festival, and judging by the lineup of performances, activity tents and other attractions, it’s safe to say that this massive cultural event is certainly one of the best things to do in spring.

When is Japan Day?

Japan Day is on Sunday, May 12, 2019 from 9:30am to 4pm. 

Where is Japan Day?

Japan Day takes place at the Central Park Bandshell and Rumsey Playfield in Central Park. (Main Entrance on 69th Street and Fifth Avenue).

Celebrate Japan Day in NYC

Japan Day

Pose for photos with special characters

Get ready for your close-up and nab a commemorative souvenir inside the Domo photo booth. You’ll even get to pose with Japan Day’s special guest, the ever-adorable Hello Kitty.

Japan Day
Photograph: Courtesy Tsuyoshi Toya

Learn calligraphy and origami

There are tons of DIY opportunities inside one of the many activity tents during Japan Day. Folks from the Japanese American Association of New York will teach you how to write your name in Japanese using black ink (a.k.a. Bokujyu); the Origami Therapy Association can help your craft a majestic paper swan; and you can try on a silk Yukata, which is Japan’s version of festival fashion.

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Japan Day
Photograph: Courtesy Mark Doyle

Catch Japanese music and dance performances

Check out some all-star Japanese entertainment happening all day at Rumsey Playfield. You’ll be entranced by performances including Japanese Taiko Drumming, Yosakoi dance performances by 10tecomai, the Japan Day Art Contest Awards Ceremony and more. Go to japandaynyc.org for the full line-up.

Japan Day
Photograph: Courtesy Tsuyoshi Toya

Munch on traditional Japanese bites

It wouldn’t be a traditional Japanese festival unless there’s some delicious culture cuisine to fuel your action-packed day of fun. Wear your stretchy pants and devour tasty grub like Okonomiyaki pancakes, Gyoza dumplings and Onigiri rice balls.

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Japan Day
Photograph: Courtesy Tsuyoshi Toya

Cheer on athletes during the Japan Day Run

Before the festivities begin, there’s a four-mile Japan Day Run at Central Park followed by the kids’ race and an award ceremony for the runners. Over 5,000 participants will race to the finish line for eternal glory, so be a good sport and cheer them on to victory. 

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