You’ll want to nip on down to Burj Park this November for a slice of Nippon as Dubai’s first-ever Japan Culture Con will kick off at the outdoor venue. Japonphiles are in for a treat from November 10-12 as the cultural festival hosts a ton of events that are a window into Japanese culture and life.
The family-friendly event will transform Downtown Dubai into Tokyo for three days from 2pm to 11:30pm. Visitors can participate in activities such as traditional tea ceremonies, a kimono experience, and workshops on ukiyo-e art and dragon script calligraphy.
Manga, markets and maid cafe at Japanese Culture Con
Those in the mood for souvenirs can hit up a handicraft market which will feature a ton of stalls featuring Japanese clothing, cosmetics and food brands. A children’s corner with games and toys imported from Japan is perfect for those with young ‘uns who have a long Christmas present list.
But none of that compares to the most outlandish element you’ll witness during this cultural convention, dear Otakus of the UAE – a Japanese Maid Cafe called MAID-ON.
Yup, we were a bit stumped too, but it’s a thing. Ask your Anime and manga-obsessed pals. Meanwhile, we’ll paint you a picture: these themed cafes are a niche cosplay concept where waitresses dress up in cartoonish French maid outfits and exaggerated kawaii (cuteness) mannerisms serve guests.
Alternatively, if you’d rather be the one in a costume, there’s a cosplay competition that will be held. Sign up for it here.
Musical performances galore
There are more mainstream anime fixtures at this Japanese Culture Con too such as voiceover artists performing live as popular anime and manga series splay in the background. You can also enjoy appearances by popular Japanese actor Koichi Takamatsu, J-Pop band Sacred Fleramo, and taiko drums and shamisen (stringed instrument) performances by the musician Yoshiyuki Kimura.
And if all that doesn’t tip the needle in favour of you checking out this celebration of Japanese culture, then the free rickshaw rides should definitely do the trick.
Tickets cost AED 55 per person for one day, and a three-day pass will cost you AED 80 per person. Buy tickets here.