Missouri Botanical Garden Hosts Japanese Festival September 1-3

Join the Missouri Botanical Garden in celebrating the culture and traditions of Japan when the 36th annual Japanese Festival returns to St. Louis! From traditional music to martial arts, sumo to sushi, bon odori dancing to bonsai displays and thunderous taiko drumming to Tea House Island tours, the three-day Labor Day weekend is filled with sights, sounds and experiences for the entire family.

This year commemorates the cherry blossom tree in honor of the presentation from Japan to Washington D.C. in 1912.

Seiwa-en, the “garden of pure, clear harmony and peace” and one of the largest authentic Japanese strolling gardens in North America, takes center stage for the weekend’s festivities. A boisterous opening ceremony kicks off the celebration Saturday morning at the Japanese Garden entrance with an elaborate omikoshi Shinto shrine parade, bon odori festival dancing, taiko drumming and remarks by local and visiting dignitaries.

Always a crowd pleaser, retired sumo wrestlers from the Hawaiian islands will give visitors a glimpse into the lifestyle, training and fighting techniques of Japan’s ancient warrior. Hear their perspective and watch several practice bouts during demonstrations twice daily.

Japanese Festival favorites St. Louis Osuwa Taiko returns to the Garden and will sound their formidable taiko drums during reverberating performances twice daily at the outdoor Cohen Amphitheater.

Japanese Festival hours are Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 1 and 2 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. (doors open at 9 a.m. and remain open until 10 p.m. for evening candlelight walks), and Monday, Sept. 3 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Please note: no trams, free hours or early morning walking hours on signature event weekends. Admission is $15 for adults, $10 for seniors ages 65 and over and $5 for children ages 3 to 12. Missouri Botanical Garden members are $5 and members’ children (ages 12 and under) are free.

The Missouri Botanical Garden is located at 4344 Shaw Blvd. in south St. Louis, accessible from Interstate 44 at the Vandeventer exit and from Interstate 64 at the Kingshighway North & South exit. Free parking is available on-site and two blocks west at the corner of Shaw and Vandeventer. For general information, visit www.mobot.org or call (314) 577-5100 (toll-free, 1-800-642-8842).

Learn more about the Japanese Festival at www.mobot.org/events/japanesefestival.