Women walking around in pretty kimonos, the smell of Japanese food redolent in the air, lively music playing in the background – the garden of The Shanker Hotel was transported into a mini-Japanese city, itself. This one-day Japanese festival organized by the Japanese Embassy in association with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Nepal on 27 November was a vivacious afternoon.

Visitors thronged stalls that taught origami, calligraphy and traditional Japanese games. The food stalls were a hit as the crowd seemed not to have enough of popular Japanese delicacies like sushi and nikuman (meat buns). Visitors also got an opportunity to participate in the tea ceremony and to wear yukatas (kimonos). Sharmila Shrestha, a housewife and attendee at the Japanese festival who was trying out the kimonos said, “I had never worn a kimono in my life until today. It feels great to wear it and also to be able to learn how to wear it. I am fully enjoying my time here, today.”

Other stalls put up by organizations such as Shanti Sewa Griha, Patan CBR and One Village One Product (OVOP) were also buzzing with people eager to buy the handicrafts on sale. Stalls put up by Canon, Sharp, Sony, Panasonic and Honda showcased their latest innovations.

This festival organized with the aim of familiarizing Nepalis to traditional as well as contemporary Japanese culture was a successful affair.