NC Japan Summer Festival
July 18, 2020 (Saturday), 1:00-7:00 p.m. (hours are tentative and subject to change)
Exposition Center, North Carolina State Fairgrounds, Raleigh, NC
Avoid lines, save time & money, and enter two hours earlier!
Click HERE after April 1, 2020, to order discounted early admission tickets online.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the NC Japan Summer Festival? An annual event showcasing Japanese food, culture, tradition and entertainment in the Triangle Area. This is the 15th straight year we are having this event.
When is this year's Festival? Saturday, July 18, 2020, from 1:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. However, if you purchase tickets online in advance, you may enter the Festival two hours earlier - from 11:00 a.m. NOTE: Exact hours are tentative and subject to change.
Where is this year's Festival? Exposition Center, NC State Fairgrounds, 1025 Blue Ridge Road, Raleigh, NC 27607. PLEASE NOTE that this is a different and much bigger building than the one we had in 2017 and earlier.
Why did you change the venue? Until 2016, the Festival was held outside at the Japan Center at NCSU. We changed the venue in 2017 because we outgrew the space at NCSU, wanted to protect Festival participants and attendees from the summer heat and inclement weather, and received many requests to sell Japanese beer (which NCSU did not allow).
What improvements are being made to this year's Festival? Due to a much larger than expected attendance in 2017 and 2018, there were some issues with over-crowding, long lines and food shortages. To avoid a repeat of these problems we listened to your feedback and successfully implemented changes in 2019 to improve the experience of our guests. These included renting a venue space 2.5 times larger than 2017; preparing more food; having professional outside food vendors available at the event; doing away with the food and drink coupon system that caused unnecessary lines and bottlenecks in 2017; better line control and signage; limiting ticket sales and more orderly controlled entry into the venue; an express line for cash ticket purchases at the gate; and more frequent announcements on social media during the event. Further improvements are planned for 2020. Check back here after the New Year for further details.
How much are tickets and where do I buy them? Ticket prices for the 2020 NC Japan Summer Festival will be announced in the Spring. If purchased in advance online admission tickets are usually a little cheaper. For children age 12 and under, admission is free and no ticket will be needed for entry. Admission tickets can also be purchased at the event on July 18, 2020 from noon for admission after 1:00 p.m. Ticket prices do not include any convenience or other fees that may be charged by our ticket vendor or the State Fairgrounds. If you wish to purchase discounted early admission tickets in advance online, please click HERE after APril 1, 2020. 3,000 tickets are available to pre-purchase online. Online ticket sales will end at the earlier of noon on July 17, 2020, or when 3,000 advance tickets have been sold.
Are there any discounts? Yes, you can save a little from the price of an adult admission by ordering tickets online via our TICKETS PAGE or by clicking HERE after April 1, 2020. No other discounts are offered.
*NOTE re: Ticket Fees: Advance tickets ordered online may be assessed a convenience and other fees by our ticket vendor and/or the State Fairgrounds. We apologize, but these fees are required by and paid to our ticket vendor and/or the State Fairgrounds for use of their staff, ticketing and box office systems. None of these fees are received by the Nippon Club.
What forms of payment do you accept? At the event, we accept payment via cash or credit/debit card. If ordering online, we accept only credit or debit card payments.
Why should I order tickets online in advance? You do not have to purchase tickets in advance, as tickets will be also available at the gate on the day of the event. However, if you purchase tickets online you can save money for each adult ticket, minimize waiting in line to enter the event, and avoid crowds by entering the Festival two hours earlier (e.g. as early as 11:00 a.m. instead of waiting until 1:00 p.m.). Entry to the Festival between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. will be limited to those who have purchased tickets in advance online, employees and guests of our sponsors, and invited VIPs.
I ordered admission tickets online. How do I pick them up? Tickets ordered online can be printed at home or work from the order confirmation sent to your email address or downloaded into your smart phone. You must bring a printout of your tickets or digital download to your smart phone to enter the event. Photo ID may be required to confirm the tickets are yours and not being copied or used by others. Receipts cannot be accepted in lieu of actual tickets.
Are unused admission tickets refundable? No. All sold but unused admission tickets are non-refundable.
Why are you charging admission? Before 2017, we charged no admission fee because NCSU was kind enough to let us use their site for almost free. However, the new larger air-conditioned indoor venue we are using since 2017 is very expensive, and we need some way to offset that significant cost without increasing the prices for our food and drinks.
How much cash should I bring and do you have an ATM onsite? If you don't have a credit or debit card, you will need cash to pay for your admission, food and drink purchases. Checks are not accepted. Even if you plan to use your credit or debit card at the event, you should still bring some cash. Although our food and drink vendors will accept credit and debit cards, some of the other vendors and groups selling items in the Community Market may only accept cash. If you need more cash after you arrive, there is an ATM in the front lobby by the ticket booth and another ATM inside the venue next to the Nippon Club station.
What food will you have and how much will they cost? We will be serving more than twenty delicious selections of traditional Japanese festival or "street" food, many of which cannot be found in your typical Japanese restaurant here in the USA. Past selections included festival favorites such as yakisoba, takoyaki, ramen and kakigori. Food prices range from $2 and above. Click HERE after June 1, 2020, or a complete listing of all our food items and prices.
Do you have any vegan or vegetarian foods? Yes, we will have a variety of food items that are meat-free and should appeal to vegans and vegetarians. They include yakisoba, onigiri, soups, korroke, edamame, asazuke pickles. and all our sweets (e.g. mitarashi dango, matcha ice cream and kakigori). If seafood is OK you can try oden (which has a fish broth).
What about food allergies? We can make no guarantees regarding possible allergens, as some of our items do include peanut oil and gluten ingredients. If you suffer from food allergies, you should ask us before you purchase any food. Some items such as, for example, matcha ice cream and kakigori snow cones should obviously be peanut and gluten-free.
What drinks will you have and how much will they cost? We will have beer, soft drinks, Japanese tea and bottled water for our guests. See our FOOD PAGE for more information.
Can I drink beer? YES! We will again be selling refreshingly cold Japanese beer. Our beer sponsor (SAPPORO) for 2017, 2018 and 2019 provided Sapporo Premium and Sapporo Black. To purchase or consume beer, you must be age 21 or over and show government-issued photo ID such as a driver's license, passport, green card, state ID card, etc.
Can I bring outside food and drink? No, we and the State Fair do not allow Festival participants or attendees to bring any outside food or drink into the venue. The only exception is nursing mothers who bring in baby formula.
Can I bring my pet dog, cat or orangutan? Due to the number of people expected, service of food and alcohol, and live performances, the event is not appropriate for pets. So, for the safety, convenience and enjoyment of our guests, pets are not allowed. The only exception is trained certified service animals for the handicapped.
What cultural events and displays will you have? We will have a variety of cultural events and displays hosted by various groups at their tables. See our Culture, Program and Market pages for more information.
What entertainment will you have? We have a full schedule of performers to entertain you, including taiko drumming, bon odori dancing, martial arts demonstrations, live contemporary Japanese music, and an American Idol-style singing contest. Click HERE to see our entertainment program.
Can I meet cute guys and hot chicks there? Of course! Just look for me. Have fun, but don't try too hard or else our sumo security team will want to discuss manners with you.
What sponsors and other groups will be there? We will have numerous companies and other groups sponsoring and participating in the Festival. Click HERE to see a listing of all our Corporate Sponsors and other participating companies and groups.
How do I become a sponsor and what are the benefits of sponsorship? If you wish to become a sponsor for this or next year's Festival, please CONTACT US to discuss the opportunities and benefits. The main benefit is public exposure and goodwill by having your name and logo seen by thousands of Festival attendees and visitors on our website and FaceBook page.
How can my company or group participate? If your company, club or group is interested in participating in this or next year's Festival, please CONTACT US for more information.
Can I sell items in your Community Market? We have many groups selling a wide variety of Japanese arts, crafts and other items in our Community Market. Generally, most items should be Japanese or related to Japan. If you are interested in selling items in this or next year's Festival, please CONTACT US for more information.
How do I volunteer? We are constantly looking for helpful volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering for the Festival, please visit our "Volunteer" page and CONTACT US via the form at the bottom of that page.
What are the benefits of volunteering? Individuals who volunteer a minimum of four hours will receive free admission to the Festival, a free yakisoba meal, two free soft drinks and a T-shirt. Volunteers also work with a friendly group of people in a fun environment and get to experience first-hand the culture, traditions, food and people of Japan. Before, during and after their shift, volunteers can fully enjoy the Festival at their own leisure. Volunteers perform a valuable community service, make great new contacts and learn new interesting things. In some cases, student volunteers may receive credit or other benefits from their school or university.
I am cheap. How can I get free tickets and food? Other than by volunteering, there is only one other way. You must sing a song by Pink Lady backwards while standing on stage clad only in a mawashi.
How do I get there? Walk, run or drive. For a map and driving directions, click HERE (go to bottom of page).
Where do I park? There will be plenty of free parking on the NC State Fairgrounds near the Exposition Center building.
Who is organizing this event? The Nippon Club of the Triangle. Click HERE for more information about them.
How are funds from this event used? Net profits earned from this event will be used by the Nippon Club for charitable purposes to further its mission, promote Japanese culture and education in North Carolina, and to strengthen relations and community ties between North Carolina and Japan.
Do I have to be Japanese to attend or enjoy this event? Not at all. In fact, most attendees are expected to be non-Japanese. The only requirement is that you be a live human being. No zombies please.
What is the big deal? What is so special about this event and why should I go? Sigh... If you have to ask after all the above, maybe you should just stay home and play with your X-Box.
I had a great time! Where can I learn more about future summer festivals and Japanese activities in the Triangle Area? The organizer of this event, the Nippon Club of the Triangle, is a non-profit organization founded in 1990 to promote Japanese culture in the Triangle Area. The Nippon Club holds 5 or 6 cultural events each year. In addition to the Summer Festival - their biggest annual event - they organize or participate in a Shinnenkai New Year's party, Member's Day Picnic, Children's Day games, the Raleigh International Festival, and Mochi Pounding event. The Nippon Club has six sub-clubs focusing on taiko, tea ceremony, bon odori dancing, mochi-tsuki, kendo and Japanese choral singing. Click HERE to learn more about the Nippon Club or visit the NIPPON CLUB WEBSITE. If you wish to become a member (free) and get on our mailing list so you can be informed of upcoming Japan-related events in the Triangle Area, please click HERE. As for future Summer Festivals, bookmark this website and join our FACEBOOK PAGE.
Do you have any other questions? Please CONTACT US.