Matsuri is a free event that takes place in Downtown Phoenix every year. Matsuri is focused on celebrating all of the best aspects of the Japanese culture. Often times our shallow perception of that same culture is limited to anime, video games, and cosplay. What I love about Matsuri is that they showcase just how robust their history is with music, art, food, folklore and more!
You have not lived until you taste fresh Japanese cooking. Matsuri always has a great selection of food for their event that usually consists of local Japanese restaurants. You’ll find this out for yourself when you get near the event because the sweet smells of Japanese cooking lingers in the air and if you aren’t careful, you’ll find yourself waddling for the rest of the day with a belly filled of great cooking! They covered the basics like teriyaki chicken and sushi, but then dove into the food only dreamed about in our favorite anime such as steamed pork bun, mochi, takoyaki, Hawaiian and Japanese BBQ, as well as ramen and so much more.
Absolutely make sure you drink tons of water! Most vendors require cash and the lines for ATM machines can get long. Although the weather is heavenly, the Arizona sun is still unforgiving on our weak mortal flesh!
Matsuri offered a number of great entertainment on three different stages and also took space off to the side to allow Japanese drummers to play for the enjoyment of adoring fans. The rumble from their Taiko drums traveled through the event, getting fans even more in the spirit of celebrating the culture that they so admired. Geisha dances, Samurai showcases, cosplay showcases, and so much more happened on the stages of Matsuri and every single one of them were wonderful!
One of the aspects that I enjoy most of all is the art. Being able to watch artists create beautiful works in traditional styles of painting or origami is breath taking. I absolutely recommend taking the time to watch the process and you’ll be glad you did!
All of the homies could be found wandering Matsuri in their casual cosplays! Our team members Cheshsmiles and Deegan Marie came in their Lust and Tae Takemi respectively! Game2hype, Amberskies, Rogue Siren, Chocozumo, and more were there in costume as well! Matsuri did inform all attendees about their restrictions on costumes in order to keep the event friendly to all comers for the most part it was well respected! Although cosplay/anime can take away the attention of Japanese culture, finding that balance to welcome it while standing firm with older traditions will benefit everyone overall! Especially since anime is the perfect gateway to appreciating and respecting Japan!
Matsuri continues to get better and better with every year and we are so excited that an incredible event like this exists! We absolutely encourage our readers to check out their event for next year because you will not be disappointed and you will be able to support local businesses! Check out more information here: https://www.azmatsuri.org/ !
Photos by Chocozumo