Amstelveen Asian Experiences City Trips

Japan Festival in Amstelveen

Japan Festival in Amstelveen. The Japan Festival is a Japanese cultural and culinary festival in Amstelveen. As one of the largest Japanese events held in the Netherlands, it attracts more than ten thousand visitors every year. Here, you can immerse yourself in Japanese culture through various performances and workshops, and get to know Japanese cuisine and products. Read more in my blog about my visit to the Japan Festival in Amstelveen.

Japan Festival in Amstelveen.

Watch my video here, to get an impression of the day: Japan Festival in Amstelveen.

Looking Back on 2016

It’s been eight years, since I last went to the Japan Festival in Amstelveen. This was in 2016, to be precise. What I remember: there was a large white tent on the square. Inside, you could get food and watch performances. We had bought coins and were able to get Japanese food at the beginning of the day. But later in the afternoon, all the food was sold out! We then stood in line for two hours for Taiyaki, a Japanese filled waffle in the shape of a fish. By the time it was our turn, all the waffles were gone! After that, I didn’t get the chance to go to the Japan Festival again, partly due to two years of Covid.

Picture taken at the Japan Festival in Amstelveen in 2016.
Picture taken at the Japan Festival in Amstelveen in 2016.

Return in 2024

Finally, I had the opportunity to go again in 2024. I arrived around 11:45 AM, because I wanted to be on time for the opening. Although it wasn’t super crowded yet, the lines were already starting to form in front of the Japanese food stalls. There were plenty of food stalls, but later in the day, the lines were very long again. Honestly, I didn’t get any food, because otherwise I would miss half the program. I knew I was going to another Japan & Korean Food Festival afterward, so I didn’t necessarily need to eat here. It was nice for the vendors that it was so busy; Japanese food and the Japan Festival in general are very popular with visitors.

More Spacious Setup

I found the setup this time more spacious than the last time I attended. The central tent was open, so you could easily walk in and out, with all kinds of stands around it. A stage was set up on the square with enjoyable performances that were easy to see.

On stage with Senju Buyodan.

History of the Japan Festival in Amstelveen

Since its founding in 1997, the Japan Festival in Amstelveen has grown into one of the most important Dutch-Japanese cultural exchange events in the Netherlands. The festival attracts visitors from all over the Netherlands and even from abroad. Since 2016, the festival has been organized annually by Stichting Japan Festival, a non-profit organization that aims to strengthen the bond between the Japanese and Dutch communities. The festival offers a wide range of Japanese food, products, workshops, and performances, which can be enjoyed by both children and adults.

Opening of the Japan Festival in Amstelveen

The Japan Festival started with an opening speech by the mayor of Amstelveen, Mr. T. Poppens, followed by Mr. M. Hiroshi, Ambassador of Japan to the Netherlands. The festival was officially opened with the traditional Kagamiwari Ceremony, during which a barrel of sake is opened. This ritual symbolizes luck and abundance.

Japan Festival 2024 Program

12:00-12:15 Official opening
12:15-12:30 Kagamiwari ceremony
12:35-12:50 The Japanese School of Rotterdam [Taiko performance]
13:00-13:20 SENJU BUYODAN [Classical Japanese dance]
13:30-13:40 Renshinjuku [Kendo demonstration]
13:45-14:00 Nichiran Net Chorus SORA [Japanese choir]
14:05-14:25 Rili. [Pop songs]
14:30-14:50 Stichting Tulip Gakuen School [Japanese songs]
15:00-15:10 KLM Karate Club [Karate demonstration]
15:15-15:35 Hibiki Ichikawa & Akari Mochizuki [Japanese folk music duo]
15:40-15:50 Vriesman Dojo [Aikido demonstration]
16:00-16:20 Senyumeji Nishikawa [Classical Japanese dance]
16:30-16:50 Kaiju Project [Jazz with Japanese influence]
17:05-17:25 L J English [Kayokyoku & Enka]
17:30-17:50 Yukari Uekawa and Rutger Muller [Dance with Japanese instruments]
17:50-18:00 Closing

Program Highlights

Taiko Drums Performance: By children from the Japanese School of Rotterdam. I love the Japanese taiko drums and would like to take a trial lesson myself one day.

Senju Buyodan: Classical Japanese dance, characterized by slow and calm movements, that express the sensitivity of the inner being.

Kendo Demonstration: By Renshinjuku Kendo from Amstelveen, with impressive demonstrations of the art of the sword.

Nichiran Net Chorus SORA: A Japanese choir that sings traditional Japanese songs.

My Experiences

I’m glad I went to the Japan Festival in Amstelveen. It is a fun festival, where you learn new things about Japanese traditions. Even though you’re not in Japan, you can still enjoy Japanese culture and traditions.

Japan Festival Amstelveen
Address: Stadsplein
1181 ZM Amstelveen, the Netherlands

Travel Guide: Japan Festival in Amstelveen.

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