Outdoor free Japanese culture festival at NewCity September 29-30

Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya and the Japanese Culture Center (JCC) will host the first year of this new annual Japanese Festival in Chicago on Saturday, September 29 and Sunday, September 30. The authentic Japanese festival will be held in NEWCITY Plaza in the heart of Lincoln Park. About 10,000 attendees are expected over two afternoons to celebrate the Japanese culture with authentic food, drink and performances. The 60,000 square foot outdoor event will feature more than 30 vendors and over 10 performances.
The Chicago Japanese Matsuri will offer free admission, as well as food and drink tickets for purchase. 100-percent of the proceeds will benefit the JCC and Japanese Arts Foundation (JAF). The donations will be used for the redevelopment and expansion of the JCC’s Lakeview facility. The JCC hopes to add a gallery, performance space, artist residences, studies programs, public programs and classes, and more.

All of the food at the festival will be provided by Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya. Drink options will include beer from Sapporo, sake, soda, iced tea and water. There will be sake available from 6 different breweries including Tedorigawa Brewery, which was featured in the Netflix documentary The Birth of Saké. Authentic Japanese food created by festival organizer and chef/owner Kevin Yu and his team will include the following:
  • Chicken Karaage on a Stick (Japanese fried chicken on a stick with spicy mayo sauce and seaweed powder)
  • Takoyaki on a Stick (Japanese octopus dumpling on a stick with seaweed powder, Japanese mayo and okonoimyaki sauce)
  • Potato Croquette (Japanese fried potato cake)
  • Gyoza (Japanese potstickers)
  • Pork Chashu Don (slow cooked Japanese pork over rice)
  • Gyudon (slow cooked Japanese beef over rice)
  • Japanese Chicken Wings (Japanese-style chicken wings with honey lemon dressing or Tokyo buffalo sauce)
  • Hiyashi Chuka (Japanese-style chill noodle with sesame dressing)
  • Edamame (Japanese soy bean)
  • Spinach Gomae (Japanese-style chill spinach with sesame sauce)
  • And more…
Confirmed festival performances and activities organized the by the Japanese Culture Center will include large scale Shodo (Japanese Calligraphy), Aikido (Japanese martial art), large scale Japanese ink painting demonstrations, a Japanese street fashion show, cosplay competition, Iaido (Japanese swordsmanship), Shubukai Japanese dance performances, BATSU! (Japanese comedy act), Itasha car displays and more.
To gear up for the event, Chicago Japanese Matsuri has partnered with Do312 for a $50 festival food and drink ticket giveaway. Patrons can enter at http://do312.com/chicagomatsuri.
WHEN:   Saturday, September 29 and Sunday, September 30
               11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
                1457 N Halsted St
                Chicago, IL 60642
Garage parking available
COST:      Food and Drink Tickets:
                 -$2: 1 ticket
                 -$20: 12 tickets
                 -$40: 25 tickets
Founded in 2003 in Japan, Kookai Ramen grew to over 20 locations in Tokyo and was then brought over to the United States in 2012 as Kukai Ramen & Izakaya. In order to achieve greater flexibility in entering upcoming new markets, the brand name was later changed to Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya in December 2015. For more information about the name change, visit http://www.kukai-ramen.com/chgname.html. Kizuki currently has four locations in the Pacific Northwest including three in Washington and one in Oregon. The Wicker Park restaurant is the first Midwest location for Kizuki, which aims to provide Chicagoans with a taste of authentic Japanese ramen without having to fly to Tokyo for the experience.
The Japanese Culture Center was established in 1977 in Chicago by Aikido Shihan (Teacher of Teachers) and Zen Master Fumio Toyoda to make some of the martial arts, crafts, and philosophical riches of Japan available to the public. Today the JCC continues this tradition, offering classes in over a dozen martial and cultural arts. The Center is not a museum where lifeless objects are displayed; it is a school where living skills are passed on person to person from generation to generation. You become an active participant in arts that have been around for hundreds, if not thousands of years.


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