We've got an exciting set planned for this year's Japanese Festivals in St. Louis and Springfield!

Final Countdown to Japanese Festivals

We are down to the final days of preparations for two Japanese Fall Festivals, occurring in early September. The Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, and Springfield Sister Cities Committee in Springfield, each host multi-day events celebrating the history, culture and people of Japan. Visitors have the opportunity to participate in a variety of activities, including martial arts demonstrations, kimono shows, folk and popular music, anime, and more - all in the setting of two beautiful Japanese gardens.

Missouri Botanical Garden Japanese Festival
Saturday, September 1 - Monday, September 3, 2018
*All performances take place at Cohen Amphitheater except Opening Ceremony
Saturday - 11:00 AM Opening Ceremony (Yagura Stage)
Saturday - 7:00 PM
Sunday - 2:00 PM  and 7:00 PM
Monday - 2:00 PM

Hitomi cleaning the DashiRight: Hitomi puts the finishing touches of the Dashi to make it ready for the festival at Missouri Botanical Garden. You can visit us at the Dashi, outside Spink Pavilion, throughout the weekend to learn more about our group, class offerings, and even play with us!

In addition to our group performances, some of our members will be performing throughout the weekend with other artists as well. Watch Joel play shamisen and hand drums with the Gaku Group; Hitomi with the Okinawa Eisa drumming ensemble; and Andrew with calligraphy artist Seiran Chiba. Our members will also provide live drumming for the Bon Odori, where visitors can learn the summer festival dance.

Joel performs with Gaku GroupRight: Joel plays hand drum with the Gaku Group at the 2017 Missouri Botanical Garden Japanese Festival. He will be performing with them again this year, at the Jordan Educational Wing inside the Ridgeway Center.

The following weekend, September 7-9, we will be travelling across the state to Springfield, Missouri for the 23rd annual Japanese Fall Festival at the Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Gardens within the Nathanael Greene-Close Memorial Park. This year's festival will feature the Japanese Folk Dance Institute's professional performance group, Minbuza, who will introduce audiences to the culture and history of Japan through music, colorful costumes, and traditional dances from all around Japan.

Springfield Japanese Fall Festival
Friday, September 7 - Sunday, September 9, 2018
*Performance times are approximate
Friday - 6:15 PM Opening Ceremony
Friday - 7:10 PM
Saturday - 3:00 PM (with workshop) and 7:45 PM
Sunday - 2:30 PM

The St. Louis and Springfield Japanese Festivals are two of our biggest shows each year, and we are honored to be returning to showcase the art of taiko. This year's set is an exciting one for us, and will include many fan favorites, along with pieces we've never performed before! We're excited to be debuting these pieces for you this year and hope you enjoy them as much as we have enjoyed learning them!


Congratulations, Elizabeth!

Elizabeth MagerWe're excited to share that performing member Elizabeth Mager has been awarded a Taiko Center of the Pacific Fellowship. Next month she will begin studying with renowned taiko artists Kenny and Chizuko Endo in Honolulu. The Japanese Festival will be Elizabeth's final performance in St. Louis. We wish her all the best on her newest adventure!

Song Profile: Suwako Bayashi

Written by Daihachi Oguchi (Osuwa Daiko)

Suwako Bayashi was written by the late grandmaster Daihachi Oguchi, who also founded St. Louis Osuwa Taiko. We don't know a lot about the origins of the piece, but it may have been written for the Suwako Matsuri Fireworks Festival, held each August at Lake Suwa near the home of Osuwa Daiko. The festive piece highlights the fue, or Japanese flute and we frequently play the song during the dashi procession at the Japanese Festival. Drummers and dancers accompany the fue as we pull the dashi (parade cart) through the garden to the performance.

Suwako Bayashi dancers

Various versions of Suwako Bayashi have been in our repertoire over many years. Originally we played a much slower version; in 2009 we traveled to Japan to learn the music and dance directly from Osuwa Daiko, and this is what we play today.

Class Recitals at the Japanese Festival

Our adult beginning class and STRAIKO youth class have been hard at work this summer, learning about taiko, the history of our group, and practicing new pieces to play before an audience at the Japanese Festival. We've got two great groups this session, and we're so proud of how hard everyone has been working to master new songs in a short period of time!

The STRAIKO class practices for this year's recital at the Japanese Festival

We invite everyone to arrive at the Missouri Botanical Garden's Cohen Amphitheater 20 minutes before our evening performances see the results of their hard work and to cheer them on!

2016 community group recital

Saturday, September 1
6:40 PM

Adult Community Group
Sunday, September 2
6:40 PM

Register for Classes

One thing in life is certain, and that is that taiko is a lot of fun! If the community group recitals or our festival performances inspire you to try it out yourself, you're in luck! Our next session begins this fall; visit to learn about our class offerings and to register. 
We are a non-profit group that performs the art of taiko around the St. Louis area and the world.
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10734 Trenton Ave. | St. Louis, MO 63132
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St. Louis Osuwa Taiko · 10734 Trenton Ave. · St. Louis, MO 63132 · USA

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