Star-Bulletin Features

Performers from Japan will join local troupes during the Pan-Pacific Ho'olaule'a today, and at the Matsuri Parade and Matsuri Moonlight Finale Sunday in Waikiki.

Pan-Pacific festival
brings Japan spirit

The celebration brings cultures
and traditions across the Pacific

Star-Bulletin staff

You don't have to travel 3,800 miles to experience the best of Japan. Once a year, the Pan-Pacific Festival-Matsuri in Hawaii brings it to you. This year's celebration runs Friday through June 9 and is expected to draw 20,000 spectators to free performances, plus highlights that include a ho'olaule'a in Waikiki tonight, a parade on Sunday, and as a finale, a moonlight concert running in conjunction with Aston's Full Moon Concert in Kapiolani Park, featuring Kapena.

The festival was launched in 1979 as a cultural exchange between Hawaii and Japan, with hundreds of Japan entertainers filling Waikiki with music, dance and colorful costumes. Four years ago, the festival partnered with the King Kamehameha Celebration, to share performers and parade entries.

A highlight of Sunday's 4:30 p.m. Matsuri Parade will be two 12-foot-tall Ushioni floats from Japan, carried by 20 volunteers. With the head of a demon and the body of an ox, it is regarded as a protector from evil. There will also be a 30-foot-long Onbashira float, resembling a log.

The King Kamehameha statue on King Street, between Richard and Punchbowl streets, will be draped with lei during ceremonies from 4 to 6 p.m. today in celebration of Kamehameha Day. The King Kamehameha Floral Parade starts at 9 a.m. tomorrow in front of Iolani Palace, moving down Punchbowl Street to Ala Moana Boulevard and Kalakaua Avenue to finish around 12:30 p.m. in Kapiolani Park.

Here is the schedule of events that are free, except where noted:


>> Japanese dance performances: Take place 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. at Ala Moana Center's Centerstage; and 3:30 to 5 p.m. at Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center's Fountain Courtyard.

>> Lei-draping ceremony: King Kamehameha Statue, downtown Honolulu, 4 to 6 p.m.

>> Pan-Pacific Ho'olaule'a: Kalakaua Avenue, Waikiki, 6:10 to 10 p.m.


>> Friendship Gateball Tournament: At Ala Moana Park, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

>> King Kamehameha Floral Parade: Iolani Palace in downtown Honolulu to Kapiolani Park in Waikiki, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

>> Pan-Pacific Hula Festival: At Ala Moana Center's Centerstage, 1 to 4 p.m.

>> Japan-Korea Dream Stage: Traditional performing arts from Korea and Japan, Hawaii Theatre, 1 to 4:30 p.m.; $12.

>> Furusato stage: Traditional performing arts from Japan at Hawaii Theatre, 5:30 to 9 p.m.; $12.

>> Ballroom Dancing: In the Ala Wai Palladium Ballroom, Ala Wai Golf Course, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.; $4.

A lantern is surrounded by pink-and-white blossoms in a parade entry from a past Pan-Pacific Festival Matsuri Parade.


>> Hawaiian Half Marathon (13.1 miles) and 5-mile Fun Run/Walk Half Marathon: Starts from Magic Island to Kalakaua Avenue, Kahala and back to Kapiolani Park, 5 a.m. start. Also, 5-mile Fun Run/Walk: Starts from Ala Moana Park, heading onto Kalakaua Avenue and Kapiolani Park, 5:20 a.m. start. Entry fee: $25 today, $100 Saturday and Sunday. Half Marathon/Fun Run hot line: 554-6539.

>> Ground Golf Hawaiian Open: Ala Moana Park, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

>> Japanese Dance Performances: On Ala Moana Center's Centerstage from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.; and at Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center's Fountain Courtyard, 1 to 4 p.m.

>> Pan-Pacific Matsuri Parade: From Fort DeRussy to Kapiolani Park, 5 to 7 p.m.

>> Matsuri Moonlight Finale: Bon dance; Korean, Japanese and hula performances; and Aston's Full Moon Concert in Kapiolani Park with Kapena, 4:40 to 8:30 p.m.

Pan-Pacific Festival -- Matsuri in Hawaii

Where: Various sites

When: Today through Sunday

Admission: Free, except as noted in calendar

Call: 926-8177 or visit Web site

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