Need to get out of the house? Celebrate the first bud of spring at the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens’ 38th annual Hatsume Fair, returning to the gardens April 1-2 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. What started out as a small, one-day celebration two years after the Morikami first opened has grown into its largest annual event – a unique cultural affair that drew over 15,000 guests last year.
“The fair used to be just a fun spring festival, and over the years it grew exponentially and the concept behind it has expanded as well,” explains Monika Amar, Marketing & Events Coordinator for the Morikami. “It’s become more focused on anime, manga, and comics and it helps draw a lot of the younger audience to the museum.”
Whether you’re planning to show off your favorite cosplay or just want to browse the festival marketplace for some unique artisan products, the Hatsume Fair offers something for everyone, from festival activities and games to a kids zone offering a variety of children’s activities. Guests can enjoy martial arts demonstrations, samurai sword fighting performances, and traditional taiko drumming shows courtesy of local groups Ronin Taiko (performance on Saturday) and Fushu Daiko (performance on Sunday), as well as experience Japanese games and activities including a samurai boot camp and cosplay and costume contests. The fair’s popular costume contest will take place on Saturday with the fashion show on Sunday.
“This year, we’re celebrating the Morikami’s 40th anniversary, so we have a little lounge area where guests can design commemorative buttons or write down a memory to put in our time capsule,” says Amar. “We’ll also offer a 40 to 50-foot chalkboard wall for guests to draw their favorite anime character or scene, since a lot of the kids who visit are not only into cosplay, anime, and manga, but are also talented artists. This way, they’ll have a platform to express themselves.”
Guests can also peruse avenues of over 60 artisan craft, plant, and tea vendors, explore an arena of anime vendors and dealers, and view bonsai and sogetsu flower demonstrations. Vendors will offer a variety of handcrafted items including jewelry, handbags, home decor, artwork, toys, and more that guests can browse while sampling Japanese street fair food favorites cooked on site by festival vendors.
Food and beverage tickets will be also available for purchase for access to the Kirin Beer Garden and sake stations, and garden tours will be scheduled throughout the days so that guests can admire the gardens in their springtime bloom.
Members receive free admission with proof of membership. Tickets purchased online in advance cost $12 for adults (ages 11+) and $6 for children (ages 4-10), while tickets purchased at the gate cost $15 for adults and $10 for children. Click here to purchase tickets.
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