JapanFest 2016 was such an amazing event. This was my first year in attendance & I will definitely be back next year! This Atlanta tradition started in 1983 and was then known as Japan Week. Cultural enthusiasts, instructors as well as business professionals joined forces to begin a tradition that would carry on for decades.
This celebration brings elements of the Japanese culture to Atlanta. From the exhibit halls, food court and endless vendors there is something for everyone at JapanFest. When we arrived there was already a huge mass of people on the main floor. Young people gave out programs that detailed the 2 day event. I was overwhelmed. There was literally something to do every hour on the hour including locations. From 10 am - 5 pm there was something going on and you needed to figure out where you need to be. It doesn't get any better!
I loved watching Masayo Ishigure perform in the Infinite Energy Theater. She made it look effortless but I understand that it takes much skill. The food court was absolutely incredible. Some of my favorite shops such as Suno, Kani House and Sweet Hut Bakery had set up shop there. But it didn't end there. I still had not visited the 6 other locations that were jam packed with activities/vendors.
The Anime Village was unbelievable. Every popular anime character probably EVER was represented in some fashion. From giant plush animals to figurines there was something for any anime lover. It was so overwhelming that I actually ran out of space for pictures on my phone. I was taking so many because this was truly a brilliant representation of this culture.
But nothing can trump the moment I ran, literally, into Kumamon. The Kumamoto bear named Kumamon came to JapanFest to promote Earthquake Relief. This giant teddy brought me so much joy with his cheerful demeanor and even took a few pics with me. I am so on Team Kumamon!
JapanFest was an unimaginable event that everyone should experience at least once. Open up your mind to a different way of life. Try something new. I tried Dango for the first time and it was Great! Who knew a rice ball with sweet soy sauce would be so tasty. Check out my highlights below and check out www.Japanfest.net for a full list of all the attractions!