Japanese Festival Returns to the Missouri Botanical Garden Labor Day Weekend
By Guest Contributor
First posted on 08-07-2008
St. Louis, Missouri): Visit the Missouri Botanical Garden on Labor Day weekend for the Midwest’s
largest celebration of the culture and traditions of Japan. The 2008 Japanese Festival, presented by
Wachovia Securities, features sumo wrestling, taiko drumming, rakugo Japanese comedy and more,
Aug. 30, 31 and Sept. 1.
Doors open at 9 a.m. each day, with activities beginning at 10 a.m. A ceremonial omikoshi
shrine procession will culminate at the Japanese Garden entrance Saturday at 11 a.m., when local and
visiting dignitaries open the festivities by smashing a sake barrel as thunderous beats resonate from
taiko drums. Enjoy more performances from the St. Louis Osuwa Taiko group at the Cohen
Amphitheater from 7 to 8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, and from 2 to 3 p.m. on Sunday and
Retired professional sumo wrestlers Koryu and Sunahama are back to showcase Japan’s
national sport through demonstrations and audience participation. Watch the show from the Cohen
Amphitheater lawn on Saturday at 1:30 and 4 p.m. and on Sunday and Monday at noon and 4 p.m.
New this year, enjoy a touring performance of rakugo, or Japanese sit-down comedy.
English-speaking performer Kaishi Katsura acts out stories involving several characters while seated,
using only a sensu (paper fan) and tenugui (hand towel) as props. Seating in the Shoenberg Theater is
limited for one-hour performances on Saturday at 5 p.m., Sunday at 4 p.m. and Monday at 12 p.m.
Enjoy the Japanese cinema experience with a special viewing of the feature film “Linda Linda
Linda,” Saturday at 8 p.m. in the Shoenberg Theater. The 2006 tale of a high school, all-girl band
seeking a new lead singer days before their school’s festival was “one of [the] year’s most
unexpected pleasures,” according to the New York Times. Seating is limited and early arrival is
Attend a kimono fashion show on Sunday at 1 and 2:30 p.m. in the Shoenberg Theater. Watch
martial arts including kendo, judo, aikido and karate demonstrated on the Lehmann Building lawn
throughout the festival weekend. Don’t miss the quick artistry of an ice sculptor from 1 to 1:30 p.m.
each day in front of the Spink Pavilion.
“The Year of Tea” will be celebrated with ritual tea ceremonies six times daily on the sacred
Teahouse Island in the Japanese Garden. Tickets go on sale twice daily from the Plum Viewing Arbor
and are an additional $15 each; limit 12 people per session.
Browse the merchandise marketplace for souvenirs or visit the food court for authentic
Japanese fare from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday. Take a
leisurely stroll by candlelight through the Japanese Garden Seiwa-en from 8 to 10 p.m. on Saturday
and Sunday. Don’t miss demos of ikebana flower arranging, bonsai pruning, bon odori festival
dancing and more. Download the complete schedule of events at http://www.mobot.org
The 2008 Japanese Festival is presented by Wachovia Securities, with support from Novus
Hours are Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 30 and 31 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Monday, Sept. 1
(Labor Day) from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (grounds open at 9 a.m. each day). Admission is $10 adults; $7
seniors age 65 and over; $3 children age three to 12; and free to children age two and under. Missouri
Botanical Garden members are $3. Purchase tickets in advance online at http://www.mobot.org/tickets.asp
The Missouri Botanical Garden is located at 4344 Shaw Blvd. in south St. Louis. For more
information, visit http://www.mobot.org or call (314) 577-9400.
WHAT: 2008 Japanese Festival, presented by Wachovia Securities
WHEN: Labor Day weekend; Aug. 30 and 31, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sept. 1, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
WHERE: Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Blvd., south St. Louis, Mo.
COST: $10 adults, $7 seniors (65+), $3 children (3-12), $3 Garden members. Purchase tickets
in advance online at http://www.mobot.org/tickets.asp
SPONSORS: Presented by Wachovia Securities with support from Novus International, Inc.
INFO: http://www.mobot.org; (314) 577-9400 or 1-800-642-8842 toll free