The Story Behind Japan Day in Dusseldorf

Sunset | © aotaro/Flickr
Sunset | © aotaro/Flickr
Each year in Dusseldorf, a day is dedicated to a celebration of Japanese culture on a huge scale. The festival, which is called Japan-Tag in German, attracts hundreds of thousands of people with its spectacular festival program.


The day is jam-packed with presentations and entertainment, such as traditional music and dance programs, samurai presentations, sake seminars, calligraphy lessons, Japanese souvenirs, kimono fittings, drawing workshops, Japanese board games, Manga stands and mouthwatering Japanese food such as sushi, sashimi and tempura. As many as 400 performers put on a nine-hour program on stage, and hundreds of people sport traditional Japanese costumes, makeup and hairdos, while others dress up as Japanese comic-book characters. The icing on the cake is the spectacular fireworks that are specially flown in from Japan to mark the end of the festival.

On this special day, Germans and Japanese are brought together under the flag of the Rising Sun, to celebrate the intimate cultural, historical and economic bond that the two countries share. It also gives the huge Japanese population in Dusseldorf an opportunity to present proudly the very best of their culture.

Fireworks on the Rhine ©mailgres/Pixabay


Japan Day takes place every year in May or June.

Japan Day festival in Dusseldorf, Germany © bengy/Shutterstock


The celebrations all take place on the Rhine Promenade.

The History of Japan Day

The first celebration of Japanese culture in Dusseldorf can be traced back to 1983, with the celebration of Japan Week. The year 1999–2000 was declared to be Japan Year, and was marked by as many as 100 traditional Japanese events across Dusseldorf. Japan Day has been celebrated every year since 2002, and has steadily grown in size and popularity over the years.

Japan Day in Dusseldorf, Germany © Ralf Herschbach/Shutterstock

Why Japanese Festival in Dusseldorf?

The bond between Germany and Japan goes back a long way. In the 1920s, the international ports of Hamburg and Berlin were vital in maintaining trade relations with Japan. Following World War II, a few Japanese businesspeople moved to Dusseldorf in order to gain expertise about steel and heavy industrial production, to meet the growing demands for these back home. Thanks to its location in the heart of the industrial Ruhr region, and its proximity to Duisburg port and other significant European cities, Dusseldorf proved to be a great choice for prospering Japanese businesses. As the Japanese economy grew stronger by leaps and bounds, Japanese establishments in Dusseldorf achieved tremendous success, too. More and more Japanese businesses opened in Dusseldorf, and consequently, the Japanese population in the city grew at a fast pace.

Today, approximately 11,000 Japanese people call Dusseldorf their home, and there are Japanese restaurants, bookshops, schools, kindergartens, a temple and Japanese gardens in the city. Dusseldorf, aptly referred to as Japan’s capital on the Rhine, celebrates this long collaboration through Japan Day.

Japan Day festival in Dusseldorf, Germany © bengy/Shutterstock