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Natsu Matsuri festival will be bigger than ever this year

The celebration of all things Japan set for July 30 at Uwajimaya


SUBMITTED PHOTO - Visitors in kimonos are photographed at the Oregon Buddhist Temple photo booth at the 2013 Natsu Matsuri at Uwajimaya Plaza in Beaverton.The sights, sounds, tastes and culture of Japan will take center stage at the Uwajimaya Beaverton Plaza on July 30.

That's the site of this year's Natsu Matsuri 2016 (Summer Festival 2016) — sponsored by Yoshida Foods, Office of the Consul General of Japan, Portland Bentham Lions Club, and Friends of Japan in Oregon — which will serve up food, live entertainment and an all non-profit effort to assist tsunami orphans from Japan for eight-day home stays in Oregon, and to assist the rebuilding efforts of the earthquake-stricken Kumamoto area.

Uwajimaya Beaverton Plaza is located at 10500 S.W. Beaverton-Hillsdale Hwy. Natsu Matsuri 2016 will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free and there is plenty of free parking on site.

According to a press release from the Friends of Japan, “This year is particularly special as we are hosting the Northwest Koi and Goldfish Club annual show and auction. This traditional Japanese summer festival is centered on Japanese culture and raising money for the many non-profit organizations hosting and running programs to better their communities both here in Oregon and also in Japan.”

Natsu Matsuri 2016

  • What: A celebration of Japanese culture and a fundraiser for earthquake and tsunami victims
  • When: 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 30
  • Where: Uwajimaya Beaverton Plaza, 10500 S.W. Beaverton-Hillsdale Hwy.
  • The festival includes traditional Japanese games, foods, music and dance — just like the countless neighborhood and community festivals held throughout Japan each summer. The festival will be hosted by a staff of volunteers, with the additional help of over 15 non-profit organizations from the Japanese community here in Oregon.

    This year, groups and organizations will be working to raise funds for victims of the Japan tsunami and earthquake disaster relief, and for those who are still affected. Efforts will also aim to raise funds for the new Goodwill Homestays. Also, many non-profits and associations will be serving up food, cultural games and summer treats with the goal of making a difference for their NPOs.

    The festival part is organized by nine local community organizations and non-profits, and will also feature a limited amount of commercial vendors. Organizers emphasize the family-friendly nature of the event, which will focus on Japanese food, music, dance and fun. Natsu Matsuri 2016 will feature live Japanese music and odori dancing, traditional children’s games, shaved ice, Japanese and Asian festival foods, a watermelon easting contest and much, much more.

    En Taiko will showcase the Japanese drumming tradition that is an authentic part of the Japanese culture and spirit. Also on hand will be groups including Solo Flamenco Arts Academy, Hombu Dojo, Kyokushin Ito Dojo, Sheridan Taiko and Tomodachi-Kai Choris.

    Numerous organizations, including the Japanese Cultural Society of Salem, The Japanese International Baptist Church, Team Hope Japan of Tigard, Sakura Kai, the Nichiren Buddhist Temple, Portland Kimono Club, Friends of Japan in Oregon, and others, will be serving delicious Japanese foods including grilled squid, Japanese shaved ice (Kakigori), takoyaki and other traditional Japanese festival foods.

    The Portland Bentham Lions Club will again be present this year with their mobile screening unit. The club will offer free blood pressure checks, eye exams, and glaucoma and diabetes checks. Signups are free.

    Organizers also wanted to acknowledge the generous support of Junki Yoshida of Yoshida Foods and the Moriguchi Family, owners of the Uwajimaya store.

    “For six years, the festival has been a huge success because of their support and trust, helping to strengthen this special community and provide opportunities,” the press release said.

    For more information concerning Natsu Matsuri 2016, call Keiko Honda at 503-297-9268. For more information about Uwajimaya, call Jack Ayers at 503-643-4512 or go to uwajimaya.com.

    Natsu Matsuri T-shirts will be on sale during the festival. All proceeds will go to local and Japan-based non-profit organizations to assist in community services, Goodwill Homestays, and relief efforts for those affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami and the recent Kumamoto earthquake.