Area Guide

Date posted: 07/14/2011

Nisei Week Japanese Festival – August 13 – August 21

Celebrate Japanese culture and community in Little Tokyo in Los Angeles from August 13 until August 21.  The 71st Annual Nisei Week Japanese Festival draws over 50,000 people from all over the world to join together and commemorate all things Japanese.  The word “Nisei” translates to “2nd generation” in Japanese, which is only fitting since the event was originally meant to draw in American born Japanese.  Today, all types of people celebrate this festival but the name has stuck.

Many celebrations will take place throughout the month of August, but one of the biggest events is the Grand Parade that will take place on Sunday, August 14.  The parade is famous for its varied participants and long time span.  Walking the parade are typically local marching bands, ondo dancing groups, martial arts dojos, influential Japanese and locals, a mikoshi shrine, floats, pageant queens, instrument players, and many more.  Another prominent occasion during Nisei Week is the Showoff Car Show, one of the nation’s premiere import car shows.  This year, the car show will be on Saturday, August 13 at the Showoff Café.  There will be awesome competitions for some elite prizes, fun live entertainment all day, a carnival, food, shopping, and more!  The Plaza Festival will be both Saturday and Sunday, with a detailed entertainment schedule coming soon.  The Nisei Week Coronation Ball is always a great time and attendees can witness the crowning of the new queen, who is usually recognized for her community service and presentation skills.

The first Nisei Week began in 1934 and really jazzed up Little Tokyo for its seven day run.  Later, it served as a way to brighten the area during the Great Depression.  Issues arose between the Issei (1st generation Japanese) and the Nisei, but ultimately the Nisei took over and worked hard to plan the great festival.  They planned fun festivities and attractions, complete with Japanese floral arrangements, tea ceremonies, martial arts shows, fashion shows, and more.  The variety of attractions and cultural events began to attract many from all over, and eventually the festival became what it is today.  It is a great time for tourists and Japanese alike!  There is a lot to experience and a lot of delicious, tasty food to enjoy, so don’t miss out on this year’s Nisei Week in downtown Los Angeles! 

Nisei Week

For more information and a schedule of events, please visit

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