Updated: Jul 7, 2019
By Jane Kamata
When: Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018, from 4:00pm-9:30pm and Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018, from 11:00am-5:00pm
Where: The Witte Museum at 3801 Broadway Street, Mays Family Center, San Antonio, TX 78209
What is Aki Matsuri?
Aki Matsuri is an annual autumn festival celebrated as a national holiday in Japan. Traditionally, it was celebrated with rituals for self-cleansing and was made to give thanks for a good harvest.
However, in San Antonio, Aki Matsuri has taken on a slightly different meaning. The annual festival put on by the Japan America Society of San Antonio (JASSA), is a celebration of Japanese culture in San Antonio through the sharing of Japanese traditions with others. The festival started out small but has grown in popularity over recent years.
Local and national vendors, musicians, artists, and Japanese-Americans gather in a culmination of Japanese culture. Aki Matsuri is an opportunity for those unfamiliar with Japan’s unique culture to explore Japanese food, music, language, art, and more.
What should I expect?
When you first get to the Witte, there is lots of parking available, especially in The Witte parking garage. When arriving to the venue, the entrance will be on the far right by the Mays Family Center. You should expect to present your ticket, if you have paid online, or purchase a ticket at the entrance. Tickets can be purchased for $12 for an adult and $7 for children during the day festival or online at any time. The food and drink vendors usually gather on one side of the area and the sponsor and craft vendors on the other. All of the items for sale at Aki Matsuri are usually purchasable with cash.
What will be happening at Aki Matsuri?
The festival showcases a variety of booths and performances. The booths include things like Japanese festival food, art, shops, and local Japanese companies. Aki Matsuri also features a variety of demonstrations, such as a traditional tea ceremony. Traditional musical instruments, such as taiko, are also used in different performances.
What should I bring?
You should bring cash if you plan on purchasing food, drinks, or anything from a vendor. If you do not have any cash with you, there is usually an ATM located near the venue.
What other activities are at Aki Matsuri?
Although Aki Matsuri highlights the traditional parts of Japanese culture, it also features anime, manga, J-pop, and other elements of popular culture. Local performance groups and cosplayers have a chance to perform at the festival to J-pop and anime music, as well as participate in contests. Additionally, conventions centered around Japanese pop culture have a chance to set-up a booth. San Japan, a local convention centered around anime, has been featured in the past as a booth.
Some other activities that have been at Aki Matsuri in the past include traditional calligraphy booths, dress-up photo opportunities, and a “flea market” with Japanese items for sale.
Aki Matsuri offers a combination of food, music, art, and shops, which means there is no shortage of activities to take part in. Although Aki Matsuri is celebrated as a national holiday in Japan, there is nothing quite like an Aki Matsuri 6,589 miles away in San Antonio.
For more information about Aki Matsuri, San Antonio's only Japanese fall festival, click the link below: http://www.jas-sa.org/