Skip to content

2019 Nikkei Matsuri

Nikkei Matsuri is Burnaby’s family-friendly Japanese festival in the heart of Metro Vancouver!

A “matsuri” (meaning festival) has long been part of the cultural landscape in Japan. Many nikkei communities across North America and around the world carefully preserve and follow this tradition. Nikkei Matsuri provides a platform to celebrate Japanese culture through food, music, entertainment, games, and more.
Come join the Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre over the Labour Day weekend to be immersed in an authentic Japanese festival in your very own community.




New Executive Director at the NNMCC

Starting on August 1, the Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre (NNMCC) has a new Executive Director – Karah Goshinmon. While Roger Lemire has passed on the baton, he will continue to help with the organizing of Nikkei Matsuri this year.


Message from the Origanizing Committee Chair

The first Nikkei Matsuri was held in 2013, organized by Nikkei Place Foundation as a fundraiser for the Nikkei Centre. The following summer, Roger with Akiko Gomyo, the then Chair of Nikkei Matsuri, laid the foundation for the current event format. I was honoured to have been asked to take on the role of the Chair for the 4th Nikkei Matsuri. We have since grown, with last year’s event drawing some 14,000 visitors. Nikkei Matsuri could not be held without the dedication of the Nikkei Centre staff and the many volunteers and sponsors who help make it happen.

I invite you to join us this Labour day weekend for another fantastic Nikkei Matsuri.

Louise Akuzawa
Nikkei Matsuri Organizing Committee Chair




Message from the Executive Director

The Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre (NNMCC) is pleased to present the 7th annual Nikkei Matsuri in the heart of Burnaby. On behalf of our Board of Directors, staff, and volunteers, I would like to extend a warm welcome to join us over the Labour Day weekend to celebrate Japanese culture and Japanese Candian heritage with specialty food, creative performances, entertaining demonstration, our new gallery exhibit, and engaging activities for the whole family.

The success of Nikkei Matsuri relies on the dedication of over 300 volunteers, including members of the Organizing Committee members and Chair, who give countless hours, and bring invaluable input and enthusiasm to the festival. I would like to thank former Executive Director, Roger Lemire, for his leadership in fostering the growth of Nikkei Matsuri. We are grateful for the generosity of our donors and sponsors, and as always, proceeds support the NNMCC in our mission to honour, preserve, and share Japanese culture and Japanese Canadian history and heritage for a better Canada through programs, exhibits, research, preservation, and events.

Issho ni tanoshimi mashou!

Karah Goshinmon Foster, Executive Director
Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre


Message from the Mayor of Burnaby

On behalf of Burnaby City Council and the citizens of Burnaby, I offer best wishes for the 7th Annual Nikkei Matsuri Festival.

Held annually at the Nikkei National Museum and Cultural Centre in Burnaby, this important festival is a wonderful way to experience Japanese culture and traditions. Through performances, games, food and exhibitions the Nikkei Matsuri Festival shares the wonders of Japanese culture in a family-oriented event.

Burnaby is proud of its diversity with wonderful festivals like this one that celebrates the vibrancy of our community.

Thank you to the organizers, participants, and volunteers for their tremendous work in making this extraordinary event so successful.


Mike Hurley







What you can expect at a Matsuri

[siteorigin_widget class=”SiteOrigin_Widget_Image_Widget”][/siteorigin_widget]

The Origins

The original matsuri in Japan is a ceremony to thank, pray, and commemorate gods, ancestors, and Buddha. There are many types of Matsuri: it can be a celebration to offer thanks for a large catch of fish, good business, health of a family, prosperity, and many more. During the event season, the focus of the Matsuri varies from region to region.

A typical Matsuri hosted by a Shinto Shrine or Buddhist Temple has local people carrying mikoshi, which represents the guardian god. These participants wear happi coats, and dance along (bon-odori dance) with the parade. Today, matsuri is held to unite the community through an event that brings young and old together. Hundreds of small and large matsuri happen throughout the year in Japan.

matsuri has two aspects. One is a strict religious ritual and the other is a merrymaking party that allows the people carrying mikoshi to wear fundoshi (loincloth).

[siteorigin_widget class=”SiteOrigin_Widget_Image_Widget”][/siteorigin_widget]


In the Shinto religion, the Shinto spirit rests in the Shinto shrine. During matsuri time, the Shinto spirit gets carried in the portable shrine, or mikoshi.

[siteorigin_widget class=”SiteOrigin_Widget_Image_Widget”][/siteorigin_widget]

Bon-Odori Dance

The Bon-odori dance is held to honour a departed soul. Bon is a midsummer Buddhist celebration honouring the souls of the dead. Members of the local community perform the Bon-odori dance around the yagura, which is set up in the centre of the matsuri.

[siteorigin_widget class=”SiteOrigin_Widget_Image_Widget”][/siteorigin_widget]

Happi Coat

The traditional clothing worn at a matsuri is a knee- or hip-length top coat with long sleeves. It normally has a family, group, or town emblem on the back, chest, or on the collar. Happi coats are also worn at company promotions, and can also be a uniform for firefighters.

[siteorigin_widget class=”SiteOrigin_Widget_Image_Widget”][/siteorigin_widget]


A tower set up in the centre of a plaza at the matsuri People play music on the yagura.

[siteorigin_widget class=”SiteOrigin_Widget_Image_Widget”][/siteorigin_widget]

Shishi-Mai (Lion Dance)

In Shishi-mai, or lion dance, a dancer dances around the matsuri wearing a lion head. Originally, this dance was used to ward off the plague and devils. Since the Edo period, it has been considered a lucky dance, and today it is performed at many festivals.

[siteorigin_widget class=”SiteOrigin_Widget_Image_Widget”][/siteorigin_widget]

Matsuri Food

Experience an array of food at Nikkei Matsuri!

We are happy to offer festival goers many great food options from our food vendors, food trucks, game zone food, and beverage spots.

[siteorigin_widget class=”SiteOrigin_Widget_Hero_Widget”][/siteorigin_widget]
[siteorigin_widget class=”SiteOrigin_Widget_Button_Widget”][/siteorigin_widget]
[siteorigin_widget class=”SiteOrigin_Widget_Image_Widget”][/siteorigin_widget]

Japanese-style Kids Games

The fun never stops! Play games and WIN prizes!

Fish for colourful balloons at Yo-yo Tsuri (Yo-yo Balloon Fishing) without your hook breaking! Aim and see what you can shoot at Shateki (Prize Shooter) or see if you can find a matching pair at String Pull! Find these games and more in the Games Zone!


[siteorigin_widget class=”SiteOrigin_Widget_Hero_Widget”][/siteorigin_widget]
[siteorigin_widget class=”SiteOrigin_Widget_Button_Widget”][/siteorigin_widget]