The 33rd Annual Arizona MATSURI: A Festival of Japan was held at Heritage and Science Park in Phoenix, Arizona on February 25-26, 2017. The Arizona Matsuri is a two-day celebration of Japanese culture organized by the Arizona Matsuri Steering Committee whose mission is to introduce the culture of Japan to Arizona. It is estimated that around 70,000 people attended this year’s event, with more than 250 performers, vendors, and organizations over the two days.
This year’s Arizona Matsuri began as it traditionally has done in the past—with a mikoshi procession led by Ondo dancers made up of organizers, performers, and festival-goers. After the procession snaked around Heritage and Science Park in Downtown Phoenix, the Opening Ceremony began where Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton and Consul General Akira Chiba provided remarks. This year’s festival theme was the shinkansen, also known as the “bullet train,” which debuted in Japan in 1964 and whose fastest trains can reach nearly 200 miles per hour.
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