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CULTURAL CONNECTION: Rieko Hayase, Mayu Akiba, Sayaka Ishii, Hiromi Shibasaki and Yumiko Suzuki bringing Japanese culture to Main Beach Byron Bay.
CULTURAL CONNECTION: Rieko Hayase, Mayu Akiba, Sayaka Ishii, Hiromi Shibasaki and Yumiko Suzuki bringing Japanese culture to Main Beach Byron Bay. Christian Morrow

BYRON Bay will play host to the inaugural Japan Festival this weekend .

Organised by the Byron Japanese Community Association and supported by Byron Bay Council, the free festival will take place at the Peace Pole area near the surf club from 9am-4pm on Sunday.

With 150 volunteers pitching in and with more than 30 stalls, organisers are expecting 1000-plus people to attend.

"The goal is to introduce the rich cultural heritage of Japan,” said organiser Sayaka Ishii from the Byron Japanese Community Association. "We will have traditional and contemporary performances of Japanese music, dance, Japanese and Japanese- inspired food, as well as demonstrations and displays of tea ceremony, calligraphy (shuji) and Japanese kimono.

"Through the festival, Byron Japanese Community Association's mission is to be the bridge between Japan and Byron Bay and contribute to the profile of Byron and its diverse cultural communities.”

The main stage will include traditional music performed by Byron Bay's Wagakki Band and Taiko, a style of traditional Japanese drumming.

Mayu Akiba said the festival idea started from Japanese language and cultural activities run by parents in local schools.

"The sessions were so popular with children we decided to stage them on a larger scale as a way of providing a Japanese cultural experience for Byron Bay locals,” she said.

Food vendors will provide a variety of Japanese culinary delights.

For more information go to the Japan Festival Byron Bay Facebook page.

Topics:  byron bay japan festival northern rivers events peace pole whatson



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