The great Dusseldorf invasion

By | Category: Travel destinations
Japan Day

Japan Day fireworks

Just 7,000 Japanese live in and around Dusseldorf. Having said that it, it still makes it one of the largest Japanese communities in Europe. But it doesn’t explain why over eighty times that number head to the city for the annual Japanese festival.

Some 600,000 people – more than visit some of our famous attractions – will be in the German city for the celebrations which, this year, take place on May 21st.

Few Brits travel across for the festival fun despite the fact that direct flights to the city operate from sixteen regional airports making Dusseldorf one of the easiest overseas destination to visit.

Dusseldorf provides visitors with, in the words of the local tourist board, “unique impressions from the land of tradition and modernity – in short: its diversity.”

Traditional and modern Japanese culture as well as typical sports are presented on three stages. Japanese fireworks over the Rhine climax the festival.

Daily life in Japan and its culture is shown on the main stage whilst, in the afternoon, children, young people and adults of the Japanese community give performances of music and dance. A highlight of the evening program is the  appearance of the band “Orand” with Takemi Seminer, a traditional folk singer. In their music, the band also features the Japanese Taiko Drum game and a musical instrument that most will never have heard of although some will recognise it – a tsugaru-shamisen.

The fireworks display this year has adopted a theme of  the world of nature” and will start at 11pm. Traditionally the fireworks are created and manufactured by a Fireworks artist in Japan, then delivered to Duesseldorf and rebuilt by him directly on the Rhine and ignited.

In 70 tents along the banks of the Rhine from midday until the evening, visitors can buy traditional clothing, accessories and ceramics as well as seeing exhibitions of Japanese arts: the kimono-fitting, calligraphy and Japanese games. A further 20 tents will be creating all varieties of Japanese cuisine.

On top of all this there are some 25 booths given over to manga and anime and samurai teams making Dusseldorf Japanese for a day.

The question still remains as to why this day has become so successful in just fifteen short years; from no visitors to 600,000? It will grow even larger if more Brits fly over for the weekend.

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