Nima-kai Traditions: Matsuri


Share your Nikkei Matsuri photos!

Every year, Nikkei communities around the world gather together for fun cultural activities and food. These matsuri (festivals) often celebrate specific occasions such as Tanabata and Obon. Major cultural festivals are also organized annually by local organizations such as the Nisei Week Japanese Festival (Los Angeles), the Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival, Chicago’s Ginza Holiday Cultural Festival, Festival do Japão (Brazil), Matsuri AELU (Peru), and the Powell Street Festival (Vancouver). 

Discover Nikkei is compiling photos to share our global Nikkei community’s matsuri traditions. We want to see photos of your family’s participation in bon odori, special foods, games, and other traditional (or non-traditional) decorations and celebrations. Photos can be from past years or to share how you are finding ways to celebrate this year despite the pandemic.

To participate, just email us your photo to (see instructions below) by August 22!

We recommend you use the slideshow view to check out the photos shared by our Nima-kai community.

If you’ve never participated at a matsuri, here are two opportunities coming up on Saturday, August 14 for those in the Los Angeles area or virtually from anywhere! The Japanese American National Museum (JANM) is presenting its annual Natsumatsuri Family Festival with both on-site and virtual activities. This year’s Nisei Week Japanese Festival will be a virtual program on the Nisei Week Foundation’s YouTube channel at 3 p.m. (PDT) featuring a mix of live streaming and pre-recorded segments. Participate in the JANM and Nisei Week’s activities and share your photos with us!

Submission Guidelines

Please note we will only accept images related to Nikkei matsuri celebrations. All photos must be submitted to by August 22, 2021 to be included in this special project. Multiple submissions are accepted. 

In addition to the photo, each submission requires the information below:

1. Name and location of the person who is submitting the image

2. A title for the image

3. A brief description of the image—please tell us what the photo is of and why it is significant to you.
     - Recommended length: approximately 100 words.   
    - Accepted Languages: English, Japanese, Spanish, and Portuguese.

4. Photo credit
(Please only submit images for which you either own the copyright or have secured permission to use for this purpose).
Note that the copyright for a professionally-taken photograph is typically retained by the photographer unless they have specifically assigned you the copyright.

Image specifications:
• Acceptable format: .jpg, .gif, or .png files
• Preferred Size: 150 dpi, at least 1200 pixels wide

If you are not able to resize the image, email us the larger file and we can do it for you. Please note that if the photo is smaller than 450 pixels, we may not be able to use it on our site.

By submitting your photo(s), you are representing that you own the copyright to the photo(s) or otherwise have been granted permission to have the photo(s) shared in this way, and you are granting permission for us to share it on,, and for promotional purposes in conjunction with this project (including JANM, Discover Nikkei, and Nisei Week’s websites, emails, and social media).

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at

*Presented in conjunction with the Japanese American National Museum’s 2021 Natsumatsuri Family Festival on August 14, 2021 and the 2021 Nisei Week Virtual Experience on Saturday, August 14.

Slides in this album 

Nisei Week 2018: JANM Ondo Dancers

Submitted by: Japanese American National Museum (Los Angeles, California, USA) 

The Nisei Week Festival closes each year with live entertainment and ondo dancing in the streets of Little Tokyo. The community at large are invited to participate. Many organizations and groups join in together dressed in festive attire. …

JANM Ondo Dancers at 2018 Nisei Week Festival Ondo
Contributed by: JANM

Nisei Week 2018: Dancing Elvises

Submitted by: Japanese American National Museum (Los Angeles, California, USA) 

JANM volunteer photographers also documented other dancers, like this colorful group of dancing Elvises at the 2018 Nisei Week Ondo.

Photo by Daryl Kobayashi.

2018 Nisei Week Ondo: Dancing Elvises
Contributed by: JANM

Nisei Week 2019: Awa Odori Dancers

Submitted by: Japanese American National Museum (Los Angeles, California, USA)  

The largest aspect of the annual Nisei Week Festival in Los Angeles is the grand parade down the streets of Little Tokyo with traditional Japanese dancing, floats, marching bands, celebrities, and various community groups. The Japanese American National Museum …

Awa Odori Dancers in the 2019 Nisei Week Parade
Contributed by: JANM

Nisei Week 2016: Nebuta Haneto Dancers

Submitted by: Japanese American National Museum (Los Angeles, California, USA) 

Nebuta haneto dancers at the 2016 Nisei Week Parade.

Photo by Daryl Kobayashi

Nebuta Haneto Dancers in the 2016 Nisei Week Parade
Contributed by: JANM

Album Type

community history

editor — Last modified Jul 22 2021 9:39 a.m.

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A project of the Japanese American National Museum

Major support by The Nippon Foundation