Honolulu Festival has been Hawaii’s largest cultural exchange event for many years.
Hawaii and Japan share an integrated history which have been passed down from generation to generation. Starting from the first Japanese voyager landing on Hawaii in 1868 and announcing the official Hawaii-Japan government agreement to accept immigrants in 1885. These histories have been told and passed down to the current 4th and 5th generations as it is a big part of their identity as a Japanese-American living in Hawaii. Nowadays 1/5 of the total Hawaii population consist of Japanese descendants and close to 1.5 million Japanese visits Hawaii annually. The two countries have been building a very close relationship, political and economical, over the years.
Through these circumstances, just sending travelers to each others country was not enough as Japan and Hawaii both needed to acknowledge each other’s people, culture and history for a long lasting relationship.
With this mindset, the Honolulu Festival was founded to spread the culture, performing arts, festivals, sports, handcraft and other variety of fields from all over Japan to Hawaii.
From the inaugural event in 1995, this year will be the 22nd Honolulu Festival. Established as an annual event to be held in March of each year, Honolulu Festival is now an international event for not only Hawaii and Japan but other countries from around the world to spread and exchange their countries culture.
From the Grand Parade that takes place on Kalakaua Avenue in Waikiki to the stage performances, exhibitions, craft fairs, ennichi (carnival corner) and educational program at the Hawaii Convention Center, the event will take place all around Waikiki for 3 days making it Hawaii’s largest cultural exchange event by far.
The Honolulu Festival will conclude with the spectacular fireworks show, creating a brilliant cavalcade of colors and lights over the skies of Waikiki. The fireworks will be by the world renowned “Nagaoka Fireworks” from Honolulu’s sister city, Nagaoka, Japan.
Nagaoka City is the hometown of Isoroku Yamamoto, the fleet Commander-in-Chief who led the attack on Pearl Harbor. Yamamoto’s hometown received heavy air raid from the US forces right before the war ended, killing 1,500 people. This may sound like poetic justice, however, it is said that Yamamoto, who conducted the attack on Pearl Harbor, was the loudest voice to oppose the war against the United States but had his obligations as a naval commander.
The city of Nagaoka wanted to tell this fact to the world.
Making amends and turning the wounds of war to a shared bond, Nagaoka and Honolulu became sister cities in 2012. To commemorate this historic friendship, the city of Nagaoka proposals to bring over their fireworks to be launched in Honolulu. After multiple proposals and talks, the two cities came to an agreement and Nagaoka was able to launch their fireworks as a symbol of peace, friendship and reconciliation at the 2012 Honolulu Festival.
On the final day of the Honolulu Festival 2016, the night sky in Waikiki will once again be colored by the Nagaoka fireworks in hopes for people to feel the “Memorial,” ”Recovery” and “World Peace” in these beautiful bust of light and color.
For those of you wanting the best of the best, there will be a special viewing party at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki with food and entertainment before the firework show.
[Nagaoka Fireworks Party]
Date: March 13, 2016 (Sun)
Time: Door open at 7:00 pm
Venue: Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort & Spa, 3rd Floor Terrace
Ticket: Adult $80, Children $40 *Free for children under 2
Discount for Honolulu Rainbow EKIDEN runners.
Package Includes: various entertainments, a light stand-up dinner party, 1 drink ticket.
Schedule: 7:00 pm Door Open
7:30 pm Start Party
8:30 pm Nagaoka Fireworks
9:00 pm End Party
Waikiki Shopping Plaza 1F (Map : 2250 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815)