New Year J-Culture Event at Tokyo International Forum

New Year J-Culture Event at Tokyo International Forum

New Year J-Culture Event at Tokyo International Forum

To celebrate its 20th Anniversary, Tokyo International Forum will hold J-Culture Fest: Nippon, Wagokoro, Hatsumoude, a event celebrating traditional Japanese culture on 1-3 January 2017.

The event consists of two attractions; the “New Year’s Theme Park” which allows guests to experience, discover and taste Japanese culture. The highlight are stage performances themed “tradition and evolution”, preserving traditional Japanese entertainment and showing its transition into the modern age.

“The Japanese Castles Gallery” is an exhibition of replicas of the nation’s most famous castles.

New Year’s Theme Park

1) New Year’s Food Zone

Iwai mochitsuki 

Iwai Mochitsuki

Iwai Mochitsuki – mochi-making

A celebratory mochi-making performance, which brings an Edo-era custom to the present day with a modern twist.

Four sessions will be held daily, consisting of a 20 minute performance and a 20 minute distribution of mochi samples.

Ozouni broth sale

Isecho, a Kyoto-cuisine speciality restaurant, will serve up traditional samples of ozouni broth. The Imperial Hotel will also be serving western-style ozouni.

2) Famous Makers and Shops Zone

Discover Japanese culture in a special area the brings together famous producers of sake and creators of traditional confectionery.

3) Traditional Arts and Crafts Zone

Omiya Bonsai

Award-winning Omiya bonsai

Award-winning Omiya bonsai

A display corner showcasing minature bonsai trees by Omiya Bonsai Museum and Omiya Bonsai Cooperative of Saitama. Bonsai will also be available to purchase.

Tokyo Somekomon Fabric Dyeing

Tokyo somekomon is a fabric-dyeing technique that dates back 150 years. Atsushi Tomita, a 5th generation master of the technique, will conduct a dyeing workshop.

Washi and Tsugigami Paper Crafting

An exhibition and workshop by Junichiro Yamashita, a kimono pattern designer and creator of tsugigami collages that depict Japanese scenery using traditional washi paper.

Tegaki Yuzen Hand-Painted Fabric Dyeing

A display of kimono gowns made from hand-painted yuzen fabrics and demonstration of hand-painted dyeing techniques by yuzen artist Osamu Komori.

Traditional Craft Artists

Japan Local Handicraft Association, which supports traditional arts & craft practitioners nationwide will showcase a selection of artists ranging from veteran to up-and-coming.

4) Japanese Culture Experience Zone

Sanpai (Shinto Shrine visit) Experience

A walk-through corner which teaches visitors the proper etiquette for how to visit a Shinto shrine. Sanpai Masters will provide guidance to both local and international guests.

Kimono-wearing Experience

A corner organised by Toki Shimizu of the International Culture Kimono Academy, showcasing the history of traditional Japanese clothing with samples including the 12-layered juni-hitoe kimono. Dressing demonstrations and visitor trials offered.

5) Shodo Calligraphy Experience Zone

Befitting New Year’s, a kakisome (the first writing of the year) experience will be offered. Additional experiences including making mobile phone covers with traditional Japanese design motifs will be offered at a fee.

6) New Year’s Play Square

Learn to play and participate in traditional games played by Japanese people, including hanetsuki (badminton), karuta (cards), fukuwarai (blind-folded face puzzle) and kendama (ball-flicking toys).

7) Stage Events

Enjoy a variety of festive New Year’s stage performances including music and taiko drumming by younger Japanese artists, shown five times daily.

Lively drum performances

Lively drum performances

Jan 2 (Mon): Next Generation Music Power

Tsugaru shamisen: performed by Tsuda Nobuteru Renchu (a 5-piece shamisen and wadaiko drum ensemble)

Japanese music ensemble: Relish (koto harp), Asuka Wakisaka and company

Jan 3 (Tue): New Year’s Taiko Drumming Fest

Wadaiko: Five groups including Oedo Sukeroku Daiko and Wadaiko Daigen-gumi

Koto: Fuyuki Enokido

Japanese Castles Gallery

Thirteen replicas of renowned Japanese castles from around the nation will be on display.

1) Edo Castle Display

A replica of the main tower, complemented with historical artefacts and other reference materials such as maps and castle plans. A CG program will explain the castle’s charms and attributes.

2) Japanese Castles Gallery

Scale replicas of the following castles: Nagoya, Hikone, Matsumoto, Aizuwakamatsu, Takamatsu, Inuyama, Okayama, Komine, Shibata, Hagi and Ogaki are joined by Kumamoto, showing the quake-damaged castle in its restored state.

Tradition and Evolution Program

Hiromitsu Agatsuma’s “Kusabi” No. 5: Tradition and Evolution – a Japanese-style Soul-Conveyance Fest

Artist Hiromitsu Agatsuma created the Kusabi concerts out of the desire to convey Japan’s new sense of values that resonate in the world. Partnering with Japanese artists, the event bridges the gap between tradition and innovation.


FORM-style and pattern- is a principle that is inherent in Japanese culture. Enjoy a modernised stage performance of Noh and traditional theatre as well as Sambaso, one of the earliest form of dancing in Japan.

Tradition and Evolution

Hatsuoto Tokyo Oto Kiko (First Sounds Tokyo Sound Journey)

Shakuhachi flautist Dozan Fujiwara, the “Prince of Traditional Music”, joins star pianist Hiroko Kokubu for an intriguing evening of collaboration.

World-Renowned Ventriloquism

Ventriloquist Ikkokudo brings a fantastic performance that wowed audiences in North America and Asia.

Shinshun wo Kotohogu (Celebrate the New Year)

Danshun Tatekawa 90-minute Solo Performance

Enjoy a rakugo (comedy) talk performance Danshun Tatekawa, who breathes life into the traditional performance art. A rare opportunity to see this popular performer, whose tickets are usually hard to get.

Shinnen no Gyoku wo Kotohogu Yukyu no Hibiki (A Celebration of New Year’s Good Fortunes with Eternal Echo)

Yukyu no Hibiki (Eternal Echo) is a traditional composition passed down by the Imperial family over 1,300 years. The performance by Tokyo Gakuso will be the perfect way to welcome good fortunes promised by the new year.