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Thousands step out to celebrate Japanese culture

FARMLEIGH House in the Phoenix Park has played host to a mass celebration of Japanese culture.

The lush manicured lawns were overrun with children making the most of free kite-making workshops and storytelling under the cherry blossoms.

More than 20,000 people descended on Farmleigh to avail of free stage performances as well as demonstrations and workshops.

Visitors were also given a crash course in Asian culture with Taiko drum performances, Japanese food stalls, martial arts demonstrations and seminars on animation and art.

Now in its third year, the Experience Japan festival – which runs until April 23 – is one of the largest events ever staged at Farmleigh and aims to bolster business and cultural ties between both countries.

Chair of the festival, Hugo O'Donnell, said the event aimed to "break down barriers" between both cultures and has seen its popularity "surge" in recent years.

"We had Irish dancing mixed with Taiko drum playing and that was great because it brings people together.

"Last year we had approximately 16,000, but this year we had at least 4,000 more people taking part. Over 30pc were Japanese while the rest were Irish and other nationalities."

He said the event was staged on a "shoestring" budget and was supported by Dublin City Council, the Office of Public Works, University College Dublin and Dublin City University.

Irish Independent