The first annual Chicago Japanese Matsuri Festival hit Lincoln Park the weekend of Sept. 28-30. The festival featured all kinds of shops, performances and delicious food.
Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya provided all the regional dishes, such as takoyaki on a stick, Japanese chicken wings, pork chashu don, sake and gyudon. Lines wrapped all throughout the event as hungry Chicagoans waited to have a taste of Japan.
Some of the tents at the festival were anime-focused stores, lolita fashion, sword-fighting, ACEN (a popular Midwest anime convention), gaming and they also featured a photo booth.
The festival featured, depending on the day attended, Japanese martial art, Shodo (Japanese calligraphy), Iaido (Japanese swordsmanship), a Japanese fashion show and traditional dance performance.
Although admission was free, the food and drinks were not. Much like the Taste of Chicago, tickets were sold in exchange for food and drinks. The event did take donations and according to the Chicago Tribune, “100 percent of the proceeds from the event will benefit the Japanese Cultural and the Japanese Arts Foundation, particularly the redevelopment of the Japanese Culture Center’s Lakeview facility.”
Despite having gloomier weather on Sunday, the event was booming and busy. The event was surrounded by the chatter of hungry guests. It was almost difficult to navigate around the crowd, it was just so packed with lines and excited people crowding around the different vendor’s tents. It was a clear success for the first annual Japanese Matsuri Festival.