Year-End Holiday Festivities in San Francisco’s Japantown

It’s been a busy year for San Francisco’s historical Ja pantown, but now that the neighbors have settled down, it’s time for Year-End Festivities.

Looks like things might be a little less festive this weekend since 50 degree weather isn’t exactly conducive to hula dancing, but there’s stuff going on until the end of the year.

As seen on Post Street:  

Click to expand.

This weekend’s sked is below, with other days after the jump.

See you there!

Saturday, December 13
10 am-4 pm  –  Silver Bells Arts & Crafts Faire – Kimochi Kai  (St. Mary’s Cathedral Event Center)
Noon       –  Koto performance – Murasaki Ensemble (Japan Center Kinokuniya Bldg.}
1 pm       –  Taiko drum performance – Somei Yoshino Taiko (Japan Center Kinokuniya Bldg.)
2 pm       –  Hawaiian dancing – Performance by Keolalaulani Hawaiian Dancers – Canceled due to weather.

Sunday, December 14
1 pm       –  Japanese classical dancing – Michiya Hanayagi Dancers – Canceled due to weather.
3 pm       –  Traditional Okinawan dancing – Ohtori Kinsen Kai – Canceled due to weather.

Saturday, December 20
All Day    –  Anime Festival – (Union Bank of California Hospitality Room, Miyako Mall)
Noon       –  Kagami-Wari – Ceremonial cracking open of the sake cask
12:30 pm –  Mochi (rice) pounding ceremony and taiko drumming – Kagami Kai
1:30 pm   –  Martial arts demonstrations – SF Kendo & Naginata

Sunday, December 21
1 pm        –  Taiko drum performance – Gen Taiko

Saturday, December 27
Noon       –  Mochi (rice) pounding ceremony and taiko drumming – Kagami Kai
1 pm       –  Blues and jazz – Elvin Bishop Blues and Jazz
2 pm       –  Martial arts demonstrations – SF Kendo & Naginata

Gara gara (prize drawing) coupons currently are available with purchases at most Japantown shops and restaurants.  Prize drawings are scheduled for December 20, 21, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, and 31.  They will be held from 1 to 5 pm on the first floor of the Japan Center Kinokuniya Building.*

For further information, please email

*Although gara gara (prize drawing) coupons are available with purchases at most Japantown shops and restaurants, no purchase is necessary to participate in the prize drawings.  One free, blue colored coupon per person (no purchase required) may be obtained by sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope to 2008 Gara Gara Drawing, c/o Japantown Merchants Association of San Francisco, l759 Sutter Street, San Francisco, CA 94115.
Dec 13
10:00 AM – 4:00 PM SILVER BELLS Arts & Crafts Faire
St. Mary’s Cathedral Event Center (New location this year)
1111 Gough Street, at Geary Blvd. San Francisco

Attention shoppers! Escape the holiday madness and do your shopping at Silver Bells Arts & Crafts Faire on Saturday, December 13, 2008. This year, for the first time, it is being held at the St. Mary’s Cathedral Event Center, just a short walk from Japantown.  If you prefer riding to walking, Kimochi is providing free shuttle service to and from the Cathedral with pick-ups and drop-offs in front of the Peace Plaza at Post and Buchanan Streets.  

The Faire features handcrafted items made by more than 70 talented Asian and Pacific Islander artisans, ten more than last year.  Most of the artisans will be on hand to greet you. 

You’ll find:

• A wonderful array of unique, affordable gift items
• A fine assortment of jewelry
• Loads of great stocking stuffers
• And much more!

There will be raffle drawings throughout the day with many exciting prizes donated by participating vendors. Shoppers may purchase raffle tickets or shop to earn free raffle tickets.

Mark your calendar…Saturday, December 13. Bring your family and friends. Admission is FREE.

A portion of proceeds from Silver Bells benefits Kimochi’s programs and services for seniors.

For more information, please call Kimochi, Inc. at (415) 931-2294 or visit

Note:  Not all vendors accept credit/debit cards.
Dec 29 – Dec 30 Mochitsuki (Rice Pounding) Workshop
Japanese Cultural & Community Center
of No. California (JCCCNC)
1840 Sutter Street
Japantown San Francisco, California
In 1999, Yamada Seika, a Japanese sweets shop in San Francisco’s Japantown, closed its doors after 36 years in business.  Its owner, Mr. George Yamada, not only generously donated his mochi making machine to the JCCCNC, but has shared his talents and the joy of mochi making with the community.
Workshop participants will see sweet rice being steamed in Mr. Yamada’s mochi machine before being transferred to a traditional usu (mortar) where it will be pounded and mixed by hand. Once it reaches the right consistency, you’ll work with the warm, pounded rice to make your own ko-mochi (mochi balls) which you may take home.

For hundreds of years, the making of mochi has been an occasion of great joy, and the mochi itself has been–and continues to be–a symbol of happiness and good luck.  The eating of mochi is an important part of festivals and other happy occasions, and is an integral part of the Japanese New Year celebration.

Join us for a session of mochi making!  There will be five half-hour sessions on Monday and Tuesday afternoons starting at 3 pm.  (Please call to confirm session times.  The cost is $12 per person for members and $17 for non-members (children under five are free with a paid adult during the same shift).  Space is limited and reservations are necessary.  For reservations and/or further information, please visit JCCCNC’s web site shown above, or contact Ken Maeshiro at 415.567.5505, Ext. 239.  The registration deadline is Friday, December 19.

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