“Japanese parents so cherish their sons and daughters that in 1948 they set aside the fifth day of every May as a national holiday to celebrate the health and happiness of their youngsters. Children of all ages and persuasions in Tucson will follow suit on Saturday, May 6, at the fourth annual Children’s Day Festival at Yume Japanese Gardens, from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm.
Yume Japanese Gardens of Tucson opened in January 2013 as Southern Arizona’s only authentic Japanese gardens. Each May since, the non-profit has attracted hundreds to its Children’s Day Festival, with traditional Japanese wooden toys, goldfish netting, yukata (summer-weight kimonos) for youngsters to wear, and handicrafts, such as origami (paper folding).
New activities this year include showing children how to make bento: box-shaped containers that are universal in Japan for carrying home-packed meals to school or work. Bento kits, assembly lessons, chopsticks, and rice and other food for the boxes will be for sale for $15.
Additionally, a flamboyantly dressed role-player – personified by Lani Chan (aka Lani Villanueva) – will entertain children as the singing and dancing Miku Hatsune, an anime character and virtual pop star famous in Japan as a “vocaloid,” or humanoid persona voiced by a singing synthesizer application.
Admission to the Festival costs $10 for adults and $3 for children fifteen and under. To fight early summer temperatures, visitors can purchase traditional Japanese foods, such as cold noodles and shaved, flavored ices.
Yume Japanese Gardens of Tucson are located at 2130 Alvernon Way, immediately south of the Tucson Botanical Gardens and are open Tuesday through Saturday from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm. It showcases five traditional Japanese garden designs, a large koi pond, a replica traditional Japanese house, and a museum currently featuring an exhibition of classical and contemporary hand-painted Japanese hanging scrolls.”
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Yume Japanese Gardens closes for the summer (May 7 to October 1, 2017).