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Japan Festival returns to Bell Park on July 16

First held in 2019 and then paused during the pandemic, Takako Boyle's celebration of Japanese art, food and culture is back

After a two-year gap due to the pandemic, the Japan Festival returns to Sudbury July 16.

The first festival took place back in 2019 when lead organizer Takako Boyle noticed a gap in Japanese cultural representation in Sudbury. 

“We have a small community here,” Boyle said. “Like 20 people make up the Japanese population here. So we need something to feel like our culture.”

The festival is a celebration of Japanese art, food and culture, and it’s an opportunity to share the culture with Sudburians. 

Boyle also said it’s important to establish a community so that recent immigrants have a way to feel connected to Japan and to help pass on Japanese culture to the next generation. 

“My hope is that by exchanging Japanese culture with Sudburians we can better connect with my community and also to help pass on our culture to the next generation,” Boyle said. “This is the importance of the annual festivals - they keep us connected to the past and help us guide the future.” 

The preparation for this year’s festival hasn’t been easy as Boyle juggled planning the festival and opening her new restaurant all at once. 

She’s been planning both the festival and preparing for the opening of her new restaurant since March.

Kako’s Kitchen” is a Japanese takeout restaurant that uses traditional artisanal methods to create each menu item. Despite the busy two months, Boyle was able to pull off a grand opening for her restaurant located at 434 Westmount Ave unit B on June 4.

The festival plans are also coming along. The first festival was held at a Bell Park gazebo in 2019. This year, Boyle intends on amping it up a notch. 

This year’s Japan Festival will be on Saturday, July 16 at the Grace Hartman Amphitheatre starting from noon to 6:30 p.m. 

The festival will be packed with entertainment and activities such as martial arts and taiko drum workshops hosted by professionals from Toronto and Ottawa. 

Taiko drums are traditional Japanese drums, which are played in traditional performing arts and festivals in Japan.

There will also be food vendors and Takako plans on bringing mochi (a traditional Japanese rice cake) for Sudburians to enjoy. 

Check out the festival on July 16 for a fun day experiencing traditional Japanese culture!