Japanese culture and sister cities will be celebrated at Encinitas Library on Aug. 3, 2013 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the 4th Annual Japan Festival.

The festival, planned and hosted by Youth Services Librarian Patricia Williams, celebrates the sister city relationship between Encinitas and Amakusa, Japan. Scheduled performers are Reiko Obata, one of the leading American koto players in the traditional and jazz arenas, Japanese Chorus Kaguya, a group who love singing Japanese songs both old and new, and Kikuta Kai, a Japanese folk dance group who will also invite the audience to participate in bon odori festival dances. More than 500 people attended last year’s event.

One of the most popular features of the sister city relationship is an annual student exchange. This year, a group of Amakusa middle school students and their teacher will be attending Japan Festival as part of their week-long stay with host families in Encinitas.

Festival goers can try popular Japanese foods, including inarizushi and edamame. Other activities include origami as well as a “Spin & Win” prize wheel. In addition, all attendees will receive a raffle ticket for a chance to win more prizes. Books, movies, and music related to Japan will be available for checkout, and a Japanese book giveaway will also be featured.

Encinitas is a member of Sister Cities International, an organization dedicated to advancing and promoting friendship and good will amongst the world’s nations by developing special relationships between cities. Since 1988, Encinitas has been privileged to share a Sister City relationship with Amakusa.

The festival is free made possible by the generosity and support of the Friends of the Encinitas Library (http://encinitaslibfriends.org). The library is located at 540 Cornish Drive, Encinitas, CA  92024. All ages are invited to attend.

For more information on Sister Cities International, please see http://www.sister-cities.org/.

For more information about how to get involved with the Encinitas Sister City Program, please call the Parks and Recreation Department at (760) 633-2740.