Biggest Japanese festival in North America comes to Mississauga


Published July 6, 2023 at 12:48 pm

North America’s largest Japanese cultural festival, which takes place each summer at Celebration Square in Mississauga, is about to get even bigger and better in 2023, organizers say.

Held at the downtown Mississauga venue since its inception in 2016, with the exception of 2020 and 2021 when it was held virtually due to COVID-19, Japan Festival Canada attracted more than 100,000 visitors over the two-day event in 2022.

It marked the first time the festival hit the century mark in attendance, according to officials with Japan Expo Canada Inc., which organizes the huge celebration. In 2019, some 90,000 people took in the event.

And organizers of Japan Festival Canada 2023, to be held Aug. 19-20 under the theme “Connecting Japan and the World through Festivals,” promise an even grander event this summer with two full days of fun, food, culture and a thrilling entertainment lineup.

“Following the resounding success of our on-site event in 2022 after a three-year hiatus, Japan Festival Canada 2023 is set to showcase an even greater array of captivating offerings,” organizers say on the festival’s website. “The food and beverage section will feature an unprecedented number of booths, surpassing the record set in 2022. In addition to the beloved Japanese gourmet staples such as yakisoba, yakitori, karaage and takoyaki, which have become a staple at Japan Festival Canada, this year will introduce new areas dedicated to a variety of dishes incorporating Japanese elements. Moreover, the retail section will welcome an increasing number of vendors from Japan, offering a range of traditional Japanese accessories, toys and more.”

As for the entertainment at the festival, organizers promise an unforgettable, captivating lineup.

“Building on the tremendous success of last year, we have secured performances from mesmerizing Yosakoi dance groups, along with taiko drumming ensembles that have garnered acclaim both in Japan and worldwide. Prepare to be captivated by a diverse range of entertaining acts,” they say.

Festival organizers note they’re also employing a new strategy starting this year. They want to take things global.

“Moving forward, we are committed to actively promoting the charms of Japan to the world with even greater enthusiasm. Additionally, starting from 2023, we will establish collaborations with Japan Festivals held in various locations worldwide,” they say. “With the shared goal of showcasing Japan to the world, we aim to build a robust network within the Japan Festival community, fostering mutual cooperation and deep-rooted engagement to disseminate the Japan brand widely and profoundly across the world.”

Entering its eighth year, Japan Festival Canada seeks to showcase Japanese cuisine, culture and technology to the world, organizers say.

In its inaugural year in 2016, the festival, held on a single day at the time, attracted some 40,000 visitors and was a resounding success, according to organizers. They say the event “garnered significant attention throughout Canada and North America.”

Some of the authentic Japanese food dishes to be featured at the 2023 festival include sizzling Charcoal Grilled Chicken (Yakitori), flavorful Japanese Fried Noodles (Yakisoba), mouthwatering Octopus Balls (Takoyaki), delectable Sushi Rolls and irresistible Japanese Fried Chicken (Kara-age), organizers say.

For more information, visit the festival’s website.

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