It is billed as the largest Japanese food festival in the world, which may be no exaggeration since last year’s event drew a quarter million attendees. It is jAPAN Fes, and it is kicking off this year’s festivities in the East Village on March 26. After that, the festival will pop up in different New York neighborhoods throughout the summer, ending its tour back in the East Village on Oct. 28. (A complete schedule of events and locations can be found here.)
jAPAN Fes is the brainchild of Okayama-born entrepreneur Dragon Yamamoto, whose goal since coming to New York in 2011 has been to move Japan and Japanese culture forward. In line with this goal, restaurants and food vendors participating in the festival keep the cost of their edible wares low. This enables visitors to sample a wide variety of dishes and nibbles at around $10 per item.
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Vendors taking part in this year’s jAPAN Fes include Yakitori Tatsu, Mao’s Baos, and Zen Sweets Tonkatsu Me.
In addition to the food, there will be live entertainment, and traditional Japanese clothing, art, and novelties will be available for purchase.