Ginza Holiday is MBT’s annual fundraising event that has been bringing Japanese American food, culture and entertainment to Chicago’s Old Town neighborhood for over 65 years. We started in 1955 and today we are going stronger than ever. We hope to see you at Ginza this year!

  • When is Ginza Holiday 2024?

    • Friday July 26: 5 pm to 8 pm
    • Saturday July 27: 11 am to 7 pm
    • Sunday July 28: 11 am to 4 pm
  • Where is Ginza Holiday?

  • To Enter:

    • A $5 donation is requested of each guest (no donation requested of children under 12 when accompanied by an adult)
    • Individuals under 16 must be accompanied by an adult

  • Features of Ginza Holiday 2024

    • Our famous Charcoal-grilled Chicken Teriyaki, Udon noodles, fresh Corn on the Cob and other menu items
    • Waza Artisans from Japan showing their beautiful handmade crafts handed down through generations
    • Performances on our main stage by Minyo dancers, Taiko drumming, Martial arts demonstrations and other groups
    • Many local Asian themed Craft Vendors
    • Tours of MBT’s Chapel and brief talks about Shin Buddhism
  • More Information

Dining

CHANGES FOR 2024:

  • We have eliminated Food Tickets and the Ticket Booth! Guests will purchase items directly at each food/refreshment booth (cash and all major credit cards accepted).
  • We will no longer take online pre-orders. All food items must be purchased at Ginza on the day you visit.

Entertainment

NOTE TO JM: THIS CONTAINER IS “HIDDEN” BY ADDING THE CSS CLASS “donotshow” – TO DISPLAY THE CONTAINER REMOVE THE CSS CLASS.

Friday July 26

(open 5 pm – 8 pm)

  • 6:00 MBT MINYO GROUP
  • 6:30 CHICAGO AIKIKAI
  • 7:00 MBT TAIKO GROUP

Throughout Ginza MBT’s chapel will be open for viewing with MBT members present to answer questions. Click for more information about our chapel tours.

NOTE TO JM: THIS CONTAINER IS “HIDDEN” BY ADDING THE CSS CLASS “donotshow” – TO DISPLAY THE CONTAINER REMOVE THE CSS CLASS.

Saturday July 27

(open 11 am – 7 pm)

  • 12:00 MBT MINYO
  • 12:30 CHOYOKAN KENDO
  • 1:00 HO ETSU TAIKO
  • 1:30 intermission (Chapel open)
  • 2:30 NA KAPUNA UKULELE
  • 3:00 MBT TAIKO
  • 3:30 CHICAGO AIKIKAI
  • 4:00 intermission (Chapel open)
  • 5:00 CHICAGO KOTO GROUP
  • 5:30 MBT and HO ETSU TAIKO

NOTE TO JM: THIS CONTAINER IS “HIDDEN” BY ADDING THE CSS CLASS “donotshow” – TO DISPLAY THE CONTAINER REMOVE THE CSS CLASS.

Sunday July 28

(open 11 am – 4 pm)

  • 12:00 MBT MINYO
  • 12:30 CHOYOKAN KENDO
  • 1:00 HO ETSU TAIKO
  • 1:30 intermission (Chapel open)
  • 2:30 MBT TAIKO & HO ETSU TAIKO
  • 3:30 RAFFLE DRAWING

THANK YOU!  

The MIDWEST BUDDHIST TEMPLE MINYO GROUP started in July 1965 by the temple’s nisei, or second-generation Japanese-Americans, has kept this style of Japanese folk dancing alive at the temple and devotes many hours of practice to lead MBT’s annual Obon Odori and to perform at its Ginza Holiday Festival.

Minyo is a genre of traditional Japanese folk music and dance that originally was sung and danced as people worked, the rhythms synchronizing and easing the labor physically and mentally. In addition to representing regional occupations (harvest dances, fishermen’s and
coal miner’s dances), minyo dances and songs also represent celebrations and legends of Japan.

CHOYOKAN KENDO DOJO began over 40 years ago and has 7 high level sensei (5th Degree Black Belts aka “Dan” or higher) who are instructors.  Choyokan is known for its senior level instructors and clean martial art style. Choyokan is a member of the Midwest Kendo Federation (MWKF)and affiliated with the All United States Kendo Federation (AUSKF) and the International Kendo Federation (IKF).

Kendo, the Japanese martial art of swordsmanship, is more of a self-discipline rather than a self-defense. Its practices are vigorous and demanding; the art is challenging and fun to learn. Kendo is practiced by over 2 million participants worldwide.

HO ETSU TAIKO is a premier Taiko ensemble in the Chicago area with a fresh take on the art of Japanese drumming. Ho Etsu pushes the envelope through collaborations with other taiko groups, musicians, and culturally-focused performance artists while staying grounded in the rich tradition of kumi-daiko. Through their music, Ho Etsu blends the culture of Japanese-American taiko with influences that celebrate the diversity of the ensemble.

CHICAGO AIKIKAI is an aikido dojo currently based in the West Town neighborhood of Chicago. It was started in 1961 as Illinois Aikido Club in a Lakeview Clark Street basement by a group of Nisei, and since the late 1970s has been under the umbrella of Aikido Schools of Ueshiba (ASU) founded by Mitsugi Saotome, Shihan (Master Instructor). Its now diverse membership is led by Chief Instructor and Dojo-cho Marsha Turner.

The MIDWEST BUDDHIST TEMPLE TAIKO GROUP was started by the Kinnara Taiko Group of Los Angeles in 1977 to bring Japanese American Buddhist Taiko to Chicago. A self-taught group, the MBT Taiko Group embraces the Buddhist concepts of harmony and oneness.

The members come from many different backgrounds and, being a temple group, make performance and participation in the Obon Odori and Ginza Holiday Festival their priorities. The drumming equipment is made by the group from wine barrels and skinned with un-tanned cowhides. The music they play is from many different sources and groups—all committed to spreading this form of artistry.

The NA KAPUNA UKULELE CLUB OF CHICAGO was formed in April, 1997 by a group of Island and Mainland senior citizens for the purpose of fellowship and the love of music.  Na Kupuna in the Hawaiian language means “grandparents” or “elders”. Together, the group of island and mainland born seniors sing, strum the ukulele and dance the hula to over 300 Hawaiian classic songs.

The group has held countless performances over the years, all across Chicago and as far as Hawaii. One of the club’s most notable performances was when the City of Chicago chose the Na Kupuna Ukulele Club to perform at the 2004 opening of Millennium Park.

The CHICAGO KOTO GROUP was founded in 1984 by Akiko Sugano in order to serve the greater Chicago community by introducing it to Japanese culture and music (Koto and Sakuhachi). They hold several public performances a year responding to requests from various organizations such as the Chicago Botanic Gardens and the Consulate General of Japan. They also serve to educate students at elementary schools and colleges about Japanese culture through music (particularly the music of the Koto).

The WAZA for 2024

Modern artisans mastering ancient crafts

The Midwest Buddhist Temple is honored by its long relationship with The Waza from Japan. The Waza is a federation of Japanese artisans dedicated to the continuation of traditional crafts handed down generation by generation dating back to Japan’s Edo period 300 years ago. Using ancient techniques today’s Waza master craftsmen create unique, handmade items that embody simple beauty through meticulous craftsmanship. Each item is carefully made through processes developed and refined over a span of centuries. And yet, every item has a timeless quality that is comforting in today’s world. Ginza visitors will have the unique opportunity to purchase affordable works that are made with the same care and precision as those that are typically available only through private shops or the most exclusive department stores in Japan.

This year, we welcome back ceramist Eiji Kinoshita from Kyushu Oita Prefecture, Masahiro Kawakami, a third-generation maker of tenugui (hand-painted cotton cloth) from Asakusa Tokyo Prefecture, and Yuzo Mori, a third-generation bamboo craftsman from Kyushu Oita Prefecture. Making his first appearance at Ginza is second-generation papier-mache artist Shunsuke Igarashi from Kasukabe Saitama Prefecture.

Eiji Kinoshita

EARTHENWARE

(click image to view gallery)

Eiji Kinoshita creates unique earthenware whose every creation is a new discovery of its own. Moving from the potter’s wheel, he became attracted to the natural beauty of stones and tiles. It is their forms that he transforms into ceramic earthenware.

Masahiro Kawakami

TENUGUI (towel art)

(click image to view gallery)

Masahiro Kawakami is a third-generation maker of tenugui, loosely translated as towel art. However, unlike the typical western use, it could serve as a belt or a head cover. While intended to be used as hankies, towels or wrapping, many are hung as wall art—fastened to simple scrolls or framed under glass. To learn more: https://tenugui-fujiya.jp/e/

Yuzo Mori

BAMBOO CREATIONS

(click image to view gallery)

Yuzo Mori’s creations come from a versatile plant of the grass family common to East Asia. With strength rivaling the best hardwoods but with great flexibility, bamboo was a natural choice for woven containment vessels. Today, Mr. Mori’s handiwork includes purses to baskets to serving trays, which all display elegance and practicality.

Mr. Mori, who comes from the southern island of Kyushu, is making his second appearance at the Ginza Holiday Festival, following his father’s footsteps in 2012. To learn more: https://chikukousai.com/retail-shop/

Shunsuke Igarashi

KASUKABE HARIKO (papier-mâché figurines)

(click image to view gallery)

Shunsuke Igarashi creates papier-mâché figurines called Kasukabe hariko. The process starts with a clay mold, using the same skills as a woodcarver. Papier-mache is used to line the mold and when dry, the paper is carefully cut from the mold. The figure is coated with a mix of natural adhesive and ground shell called gofun. Several layers are applied before being intricately hand painted. Edo-period toys featured primary colors but today many colors are used in a wide variety of designs. To learn more: https://www.maneki-neko.com/

GINZA MERCH – New Items for 2024!

Stop by our BOOKSTORE/SHOPMBT Booth for a variety of offerings including Shin Buddhism literature and artifacts. We are also featuring T-Shirts and MBT 80th Anniversary commemorative items.

MBT 80th Anniversary T-Shirt
MBT 80th Anniversary Tote Bag
MBT 80th Anniversary T-Shirt

Get these and more by visiting our MBT BOOKSTORE/SHOPMBT BOOTH!

Local Artisans

For those who seek treasures to take home we have many local artisans who display and sell their works in our outdoor shopping concourse – rows of booths festively decorated with cho-chin lanterns. Shoppers can typically find hand-made jewelry, beautiful examples of Origami (the art of folded paper), ceramics for both function and display, Japanese clothing, T-shirts and much more. See our full list of participating merchants below.

FURRY FELINE CREATIVES

Humorous family-friendly toys, totes, clothing, and novelties

ARIYAMA STUDIO

Screen printed images of Chicago and T shirts with Japanese influence.

TANGERINE MOUNTAIN

New and vintage kimono, obi, haori jackets, fabric and other Japanese clothing, accessories, and kawaii items.

JAPANTIQUES

Japanese Antiques

SANSEI ARTISANS

Original sumi-e and watercolor paintings

ORIGAMI ONLY

Handmade décor in framed pictures

TOUCH OF GLASS

Asian inspired handmade glass pendants and earrings. We also have handmade/hand decorated Asian inspired craft items (Hair Sticks, Cake Testers, Tissue Holders, Coasters, etc)

SNLDESIGNZ / SANSEI ARTISANS

Japanese inspired clothing, scarves, furoshiki, jewelry, kitchen items

SUMOFISH

Fun and unique t-shirts and decals rooted in Japanese and Hawaiian culture

TRAN HANDCRAFTS

Handmade purses, messenger bags, pouches and accessories made from Japanese fabrics

FLYING PLUMTREE STUDIO

Unique handmade Ojizo statues, Chawans, Teapots and teacups, and Japanese styletableware.

EDO WOODBLOCKS

Antique Japanese Woodblock Prints. Ukiyo-e prints from the Edo and Meiji Periods.

ENTROPYWARE

Bold and dramatic jewelry

KIMONO JAPON SAC

We purchase vintage kimonos and obi from Japan and turn them in to hand bags.

LISA L CERAMICS

Handmade ceramics in porcelain and stoneware.

SHINSEN

Japanese black ink calligraphy

ART TOWATA CERAMICS

Art Towata was a prolific master potter who for many years delighted Ginza Holiday audiences with his interesting and humorous demonstrations. And each year Ginza visitors lined up to purchase his beautiful work. Although Mr. Towata is no longer with us, this year we are happy to have the Estate of Art Towata participating in Ginza to make some of his beautiful work available for purchase.

CHICAGO JAPANESE CLUB

The Chicago Japanese Society aims to promote cultural exchange, mutual understanding, and education in the local community through communication, cooperation, and mutual assistance among Japanese people living in Chicago, and to participate in creating a healthy and prosperous community. At Ginza Holiday our booth will sell some Japanese themed items and for children we will have a fun game setup.

THANK YOU

We thank the Old Town Triangle Association for their continued support of the Midwest Buddhist Temple and our Ginza Holiday Festival. 2024 is MBT’s 80th Anniversary and we have been a part of the Old Town community for 76 of those 80 years! Fun Fact: MBT’s first home was none other than the very building that Old Town Triangle Association occupies today (1954 photo of MBT 10th Anniversary). Thank you OTTA.

We thank the following organizations for their generous support of Ginza Holiday

Kamehachi
Lou Malnati’s
Mangel Florist at the Drake Hotel
Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
Osteria Via Stato
Pacific Mercantile
Ramen San
Sushi Dokku
Sushi Hall

And finally, a huge THANK YOU to our guests, exhibitors, performers, and countless volunteer workers (both temple members and friends of MBT). Ginza Holiday simply cannot happen without you!