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Japan Day

Sunday, February 10

10:00am – 5:00pm

Waku Waku Nihon Taiken at KID Museum

In partnership with the Japan Information & Culture Center and the Embassy of Japan, KID Museum presents Waku Waku Nihon Taiken (Japan Day)! Join us to explore Japan through hands-on family activities like building a communal Zen garden and constructing Japanese inspired lanterns. Plus, enjoy Kamishibai story presentations, and Onigiri making and tasting.

General Admission: $12 (includes 1 child and 2 adults)
KID Museum Members: FREE

Click here to learn about Japan Day 2020.

All-Day Activities (included with admission)

Communal Zen Garden
Zen gardens (karensansui) are dry landscapes that use only rocks, gravel, and sand. Help us build our communal zen garden by placing rocks on a bed of sand to symbolize islands and mountains, and rake the sand to suggest flowing water. To create different patterns of flowing water and to style the garden, make your own rakes and traditional Torii gates.

Japanese Wooden Structure Challenge
Since the 6th century AD, Japanese architects have created massive temples, beautiful homes, and furniture by joining together pieces of wood without the use of nails, bolts or adhesives. The oldest of these structures–the Horyu-ji Temple–has withstood forty-six 7+ magnitude earthquakes! These structures reflect Japan’s aesthetic values of simplicity, modesty, and harmony. Inspired by this technique and style, build a community of structures using just cardboard, popsicle sticks, wooden dowels, and cutting tools–no adhesives.

Clay Daruma Dolls
The Daruma doll is a Japanese good luck charm that depicts the legend of Bodhidharma, the father of the Zen sect of Buddhism, and symbolizes perseverance. Traditionally, Daruma dolls are painted after you make a wish–but only one of the two eyes is colored. The other eye is painted when the wish comes true. Follow this Japanese tradition by painting one eye on your Daruma doll and make a wish!

Maglev Trains
When the first section of the Chuo Shinkansen SC maglev train line is completed, the ride from Tokyo to Nagoya, a distance of 160 miles will take just 40 minutes. Traveling at a speed of 314 miles per hour, it will be the fastest commuter train on the planet. A magnetic levitation (maglev) train is a floating vehicle that glides over a magnetic track. To demystify the concepts underlying this technology, participants will experiment with the basic principles of magnetic force, aerodynamics, and the harnessing of wind power as they engineer their own maglev vehicles using cardboard, hot glue, and magnets.

Spin Art Koi Mosaics
Nishikigoi (koi fish) was first bred in Japan in the early 1800s. The Japanese see koi fish as a symbol of courage, strength, perseverance, and good luck. Make your own koi from cardstock or cardboard, then learn circuitry to create its mosaic-like scales.

Obon Japanese Lanterns
Inspired by Obon, a Japanese festival that honors departed spirits of one’s ancestors, create your own rectangular paper lantern and write a wish or greeting for loved ones. If you want to light up your lantern, there is $1 materials fee to purchase an LED and a coin cell battery.

Sumi-e Ink Painting
Sumi-e is the art of drawing beautiful scenes of nature using a brush and sumi ink. Try your hand at this traditional art, and see how these simple tools can be used to create a variety of pictures.

Explore the ancient art of folding paper – origami! Literally meaning “to fold paper,” origami has been around for over a thousand years. This fun, visual art has evolved over time from representative animal shapes to geometric patterns used in mathematical concepts and technology applications.

Karate Paper Figures
Karate, a martial art form that originated in Okinawa, will make its debut at the upcoming 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo! Color and assemble a karate kid using paper, glue, and a cardboard toilet paper roll. (We encourage you to bring your own cardboard toilet paper roll to get started!)

Traditional Clothes Try-On
Dress up in yukata, a cotton summer kimono, or colorful happi coats worn during festivals for a fun photo opportunity!


Kamishibai Story Presentations (11:00am & 2:00pm)
Enjoy Kamishibai, Japanese street theater where stories are depicted on a set of beautifully illustrated cards through a wooden cabinet that serves as the stage. Hear the famous stories of Urashimatarou, a young man who explores an underwater kingdom and returns with more than he bargained for, and O-musubi Kororin, the tale of a rice ball that rolls into a mouse hole.


Discover the thrill of Kendama, a Japanese game involving a wooden handle with shallow cups, a spike, and a ball. The ball is attached by a string and it has a hole in one end. The object is to swing the ball into the air and impale it on the spike or balance it on one of the wooden cups.

Daruma Otoshi
Enjoy playing Daruma Otoshi, a traditional Japanese toy composed of five stacked wooden cylinders and a hammer. The goal of the game is to knock the bottom pieces away without toppling the rest of the stack, until only the top piece remains.


Onigiri Making (1:00pm & 3:00pm)
Learn to make onigiri, a Japanese rice ball wrapped in seaweed and filled with fish, plum, or other mouthwatering fillings. In Japan, this popular and healthy snack is stocked by practically every convenience store. Our onigiri making is provided by the Embassy of Japan and TABLE FOR TWO USA, a non-profit organization that promotes healthy eating by providing healthy school meals and the food education program, “Wa-Shokuiku – Learn. Food. Eat Japanese!.”

ASL interpretation will be available at Japan Day between 10:00am & 1:00pm. Please contact if you would like to take advantage of this resource.