Celebrate Japanese Culture at the 60th Annual Ginza Holiday Festival on August 7-9

Ginza Holiday Festival

The 60th Annual Ginza Holiday Festival, a large Japanese cultural festival, will be presented by the Midwest Buddhist Temple (MBT) in Chicago’s historic Old Town neighborhood. The Festival will be held on August 7-9, and features an abundance of crafts, cuisine, and performances.

Flown in from Tokyo for this event, four master craftspersons (Waza) will demonstrate their generations-old skills creating unique crafts. The public will have the opportunity to meet the Waza and purchase their crafts. Several other exhibits and booths will be filled with Japanese textiles, snacks, t-shirts, kimonos, artwork and jewelry.

An abundance of traditional Japanese cuisine will be offered, including the famous grilled Chicken Teriyaki dinner, udon (Japanese cold noodles), sushi, Spam musubi, edamame, grilled corn on the cob, and Hawaiian shaved ice. For dessert, try the kintoki (Japanese snow cone topped with sweet azuki beans). Japanese beer will also be available.

Featured at the festival will be ongoing stage performances with the energetic taiko drumming by Ho Etsu Taiko and MBT Taiko; the MBT Minyo Group; Fujima Ryu of Chicago, a Japanese Classical dance troupe; and The Na Kupuna Ukulele group. Aikido and Judo schools will demonstrate self-defense tactics, while Kendo (Japanese fencing) will entertain the crowd.

Ginza expands into Saturday evening with Yoko Noge and her band, Japanesque. Yoko’s music can be described as a combination of Japanese ”Minyo” folk music with “Chicago blues.” Performed with an electric piano, shamisen, horn section, and Yoko’s sweet and growly blues vocals, she will warm the August night with her appearance at Ginza at 8 p.m. on Saturday evening.

Inside the Midwest Buddhist Temple, the exhibit hall will be filled with exhibits of bonsai, ikebana (flower arranging), calligraphy, brush painting and samurai swords. The chapel will be open for visitors who are interested in observing the place of worship and learning the basics of Buddhism. During stage intermissions, Rev. Ron Miyamura will deliver short Dharma talks.


  • Friday: 5:30 – 9 p.m.
  • Saturday: 11:30 a.m. – 9 p.m.
  • Sunday: 11:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.


  • Special 3-day pass: $15
  • Please note on Saturday evening, $12 will be charged after 7 p.m. for the Yoko Noge concert.
  • Food tickets: $1 each

The Midwest Buddhist Temple is a temple of Buddha Dharma and the way of Nembutsu, which is a realization of Oneness of Life in the Infinite Compassion and Wisdom of the Amida Buddha. The temple is affiliated with the Buddhist Churches of America, headquartered in San Francisco, rooted in the Nishi Hongwanji, Kyoto, Japan, practicing the Jodo Shinshu, the Pure Land School. Jodo Shinshu was founded in Japan by Shinran Shonin (1173-1262). It was Shinran Shonin who brought the Buddhist teachings down from the monastery level to the ordinary man who could practice it with his family. The first meeting of young Jodo Shinshu immigrants in America was initiated in San Francisco on July 14, 1898.

Founded on July 10, 1944, the first service at the Midwest Buddhist Temple began with a simple but inspirational service at the South Parkway Community Hall on Chicago’s South Side. The late Reverend Gyodo Kono presided over this event along with devoted participation of the Issei (1st generation) and Nisei (2nd generation) Japanese Americans, who recently moved to Chicago after their release from the U.S. internment camps of World War II.

Each Sunday regular services are held, which are open to the public, and periodically, the temple hosts seminars, workshops, retreats and public lectures on the Buddha Dharma. On cultural programs, we offer Minyo (folk dance), and Taiko (Japanese drum). The Obon Dance Festival in July and the Ginza Holiday Festival in August (the second weekend in August) are highlights of our participation in the rich ethnic diversity of Chicago’s summer festivals.


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