This Sunday, April 30, tens of thousands of people will gather to enjoy Japanese food, music, and activities on the Boston Common from 11am - 6pm. The weather forecast is lovely: partly cloudy, low 60s.
To help you make the most of your seven hours, we put together some helpful tips. You can find full details at the Japan Festival's own website. Festival admission is free, thanks to sponsors and hundreds of volunteers.
1. Make sure you stop by our Japan Society Boston booth marked on this map in spots 10 and 11.
At our booth, you can:
For those of you who want to contribute by volunteering, we have some spots left. Sign up here for a two-hour shift and your free T-shirt.
- Have your name written in Japanese on a fan to take home as a souvenir (while supplies last).
- Try on a yukata and have your picture taken.
- Attend a free incense class taught by Kiyoko Morita between 2:30 - 3:00pm. Sign up here.
- Taste some Japanese snacks.
- Buy our new JSB T-shirt for $15 or join JSB and get one for free. Join anytime before or during the Festival and pick up the T-shirt at our booth.
- Also, win a top-grade futon with a cover (by J-Life International) if you join JSB before Sunday at midnight (over $300 value). We will do a raffle drawing and notify the winner by email on Monday, May 1.
- Additionally, win a yukata or a JSB membership by filling out our four-question survey (enters you in a raffle). We want to hear what you love about Japan and what more you think JSB can do to connect you with Japan in Boston. Drawing May 1.
2. Plan, then wander.
Everyone approaches the booths and activities differently. With just seven hours at the Japan Festival and more than 50,000 people expected to attend, however, we recommend that you plan your top choice foods, booth activities, or stage shows. Spending even five minutes at the Japan Festival website will help you to be sure you don't miss out. But beware over-planning. Be sure you leave time to just wander. And print this Festival Guide and Map.
3. Eat. Donate.
The Festival has 36 food booths this year, from curry to crepe cakes, to ramen, to coffee from Kyoto! That should help with the length of the lines. Make sure you bring cash because booths are cash only.
As anyone who has been to the Festival can tell you, food lines can be long. While the virtue of patient line-waiting is admirable, don't overlook the Fast Pass that you can buy if you make a donation in advance. Donate $30 (minimum) to the Festival and get three passes, each of which lets one person skip to the front of up to three food lines. You still pay full price for the food but you get good feelings for donating and save time on the line-waiting. Full details here.
4. Enjoy the Show(s).
This year there are two stages, each featuring 15 or more separate performances. Review the schedule here for both traditional and contemporary entertainment, including taiko drumming, j-pop dancing, lots of live music, and a kimono show. Oh, and if our booth is understaffed during the cosplay deathmatch, don't judge us. There is still time to join that contest, incidentally.
5. Play, Learn, and Explore at the Booths.
We hope this list helps. We will see you on Sunday!
A record 76 booths are ready to share information, activities, and workshops with you. You could spend much more than your seven hours stopping by each booth to get the full story. Workshops include Bon Odori dance, ceramics, paper airplane making, and much more. Full booth list here.
Your friends at the Japan Society of Boston