Culture festival for international understanding and Japanese fireworks display on the Rhine  

19th Japan Day Düsseldorf/NRW will take place on 21 May in the state capital

For the 19th time, on Saturday 21 May, the German-Japanese hub of Düsseldorf will be transformed into a place where visitors can engage with the culture and people of the Far Eastern country. After more than two years of the pandemic when it could not take place, this huge festival is now making its comeback in its familiar form – as the first major event in Germany for over two years. The Rhine embankment promenade will become a colourful runway filled with stages, stalls and activities. Then in the evening, the grand finale of Japan Day will take place on the Rhine – the traditional fireworks display, created by Japanese fireworks experts. The motto for this year’s fireworks display is “Together for Peace and Friendship”.

Together for Peace and Friendship 

“I am looking forward to my first Japan Day Düsseldorf/NRW as the Mayor of the state capital Düsseldorf. After two years of the pandemic, this is the first major event that we can now once again celebrate together with face-to-face meetings in our city. In times of crisis like these, the friendship celebrated at Japan Day, which strengthens international understanding, is hugely important. That is also why this year, the motto for the fireworks display which will be the grand finale is ‘Together for Peace and Friendship’.”

Marktplatz is new venue

Apart from the usual venues along the Rhine, this year will also see some innovations. For instance, the Marktplatz will be transformed into a huge children’s and play zone with lots of activities such as making masks, face-painting and readings for children. Düsseldorf’s top football team will also be there with the event “Fortuna meets Japan”. Of the three stages, the central one will be located on Burgplatz. Children and teenagers will be performing here all afternoon, covering a broad musical spectrum ranging from taiko drumming to the Japanese Club’s brass ensemble to the Japanese International School’s children’s choir. The headline act in the evening on the main stage will be the J-pop sensation “Charan-Po-Rantan with Kankan Balkan”. The female musicians combine French chanson and Balkan music with various international genres, producing a unique, international sound which, together with the colourful costumes, lends the stage show a festive circus feel.

70 stalls on the Rhine embankment promenade

Visitors will be able to explore Japan and experience it with all their senses throughout the day at over 70 stalls set up along the Rhine embankment promenade. There are no fewer than 22 food tents in the event space, turning the city into a world of Japanese street food. Visitors will also have a chance to try out traditional clothing, calligraphy and athletic Japanese arts. Numerous information stalls will allow visitors to get a nuanced picture of Japan and its culture. The pop culture stage will be located on a new spot this year: the popular cosplay fashion show competition and the karaoke competition will be held on Johannes-Rau-Platz. A further hub of pop culture will be located at the Reuterkaserne, with no fewer than 13 pop culture providers on site. Manga fans will discover further pop stalls on the Mannesmannufer and in the meadow in front of the Landtag (parliament building). This year, sport lovers will find the Sports Stage on the Unteres Rheinwerft.

Fireworks display with a message of peace

“I am delighted that Japan Day can once again take place this year in the way we know and love. After a two-year hiatus, at last we can enjoy a live performance from our headline act, Charan-Po-Rantan with Kankan Balkan. Apart from that, we are finally able to stage our Japanese fireworks display with pyrotechnicians from Japan. Our countrymen’s visit is also possible because the pandemic situation has stabilised in Japan, so that entry and travel restrictions for people from Japan have been eased. I hope that this trend continues so that people will be able to travel between the two countries without any obstacles. I would be very pleased if you would seize this opportunity to enjoy the culture that has been flown in from Japan,” says Kiminori Iwama, the Japanese Consul-General in Düsseldorf. 

The grand finale of this festival of culture and dialogue will be the original Japanese fireworks display. This year, it takes “Together for Peace and Friendship” as its motto, focusing on the friendship that contributes so much to international understanding. The motto will be depicted in five scenes during the 25-minute fireworks display. The best place to watch this pyrotechnical masterpiece is from one of the many ships on the Rhine. Even those who can’t make it to Düsseldorf can still enjoy the spectacle: this year, the Japanese fireworks display will once again be broadcast live by WDR. 

Japan Business Day 

In addition to the culture festival on the Rhine, Japan Business Day will also be taking place again under the auspices of Japan Day. On Wednesday, 25 May, industry representatives from Japan and Germany will be meeting to present future perspectives and applications on the theme of “New Materials for a Sustainable Future: Development, Processing and Recycling”. 

“Japan and North Rhine-Westphalia have close economic ties,” says Prof. Dr. Andreas Pinkwart, North Rhine-Westphalia’s Minister for Economic Affairs and Digitalisation. “Over 50,000 people are employed by some 650 Japanese businesses and the vast majority of direct Japanese investments in Germany go to NRW. Japan Business Day is the ideal platform for deepening the ties of partnership and discussing shared perspectives and innovations. With ‘New Materials’ the focus will be on a key technology for overcoming global challenges such as climate change and the scarcity of resources. In addition, such highly innovative materials represent an excellent basis for new value chains.”

Advertising measures 

Japan Day Düsseldorf/NRW is being advertised on posters throughout the city and with the Japan Day programme booklet. Further information about the programme is available on the website

The website was updated in 2021 and is now the ideal way of communicating the event. Japan Day will also be the main topic in May on the Instagram and Facebook page “Visit Düsseldorf”, with features such as a teaser video with the Fortuna players Ao Tanaka and Shinta Appelkamp.

Clemens Henle 
Tel: +49 211. 17202-863, [email protected]