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

International, Inc.

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