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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
Shaye Weaver
Written by
Rossilynne Skena Culgan
Shaye Weaver

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 parade began for the first time in 2022, and it's back again for 2023. 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 Japan Parade is a huge 'Arigato!' from the Japanese community to New York City," said Honorary Chairman, Ambassador Mikio Mori, the Consul General of Japan in New York. "It will be the second annual celebration of Japanese culture and the many vibrant connections between Japan and this great city. We plan to outdo the inaugural parade in terms of marchers, contents, and food tents all highlighting the uniqueness of Japan, while also solidifying with Asian communities during AAPI Heritage Month. We hope that these festivities bring the Japanese and all of New York City even closer together, adding to our friendship for generations to come."

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

When is the Japan Parade?

Japan Day is on Saturday, May 13, 2023.

What time is the Japan Parade?

It runs from 1-3:30pm.

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?

Olymic gold medalist Kristi Yamaguchi will be the parade's Grand Marshal. In addition to her athletic success, the figure skater also founded "Always Dream" designed to give children from low-income families access to high-quality books at home. 

Special for 2023, the cast of "Live Spectacle 'NARUTO,'" the popular 2.5-dimensional show from Japan, will perform. Other participating groups this year include Anime NYC, Harlem Japanese Gospel Choir, international karate organization Kyokushinkaikan, The Japanese Folk Dance Institute of NY, Rakugo comedian Katsura Sunshine, music education group Midori & Friends, drummers Soh Daiko, sword-fighting group TATE Hatoryu NY, Young People's Chorus of NYC, and many more.

Expect to see dance performances, musicians, marching bands, martial arts and traditional costumes at the parade, according to Japan Parade's website

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. Expect calligraphy, water balloon yo-yo fishing, origami, photo opportunities and more. Plus, there will be plenty food to purchase in collaboration with JAPAN Fes, which wills et up 20 tents serving authentic Japanese food.

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 Japan Parade’s utmost goal is to be a foundation to forge new connections, and to be an inspiration to strengthen existing relations between Japan and the United States, as well as between the Japanese American community and the people of New York City," said Japan Day Chairman of the Board of Directors, Daisuke Ugaeri.

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