Best Festival - 2009
Think of it as the little festival that could. Compared to local mega-events like the Houston International Festival and the Bayou City Arts Festival, the Japan Festival is small fry. So why is it our choice for Best Festival? Because, despite its size, Japan Festival delivers a big dose of fun. It's an excellent mix of entertainment, people watching and food. On the entertainment front, visitors take in Taiko drummers, martial artists, folk dancers, bonsai displays and kids' carnival games. For people watchers, the crowd always includes dozens of visitors decked out in colorful kimonos and martial arts outfits. The festival offers sushi and other Japanese dishes prepared by master chefs. Then, of course, there's the setting. More than 20,000 visitors attended this year's festival, but the crowds easily move through the lovely Japanese Garden and around the newly refurbished Mary Gibbs and Jesse H. Jones Reflection Pool, making for hassle-free fun.