The festival is the largest annual cultural exchange event with the participation of businesses from Vietnam and Japan, said Sugano Yuichi, chief representative of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in Vietnam, a sponsor of the festival.

This year’s theme signifies the ongoing collaboration and development between the two countries after 50 years of close diplomatic ties, he added.

The event featured over 150 booths, the largest number to date, showcasing and selling food, consumer goods, tourism products, local specialties, educational programs, and healthcare products.

There were also booths dedicated to Vietnamese and Japanese poetry, Japanese tea ceremonies, traditional Japanese folk games and sports, as well as Gashapon vending machine-dispensed toys for children.

Festival-goers were treated to music and dance performances by Japanese artists, including BallistikBoyz and PsychicFever, as well as Vietnamese singers such as My My and Tang Duy Tan.

Cosplay activities, the re-creation of the Bon Odori and Awa Odori dance festivals, traditional Vietnamese Ao dai (long dress) shows, and other exciting performances were also highlights of the event.

“The fact that Japanese culture and products are highly embraced by the Vietnamese people, and vice versa, is a testament to the growing strength of this collaboration,” said Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in a video message during the opening ceremony.

With approximately 500,000 visitors last year, the festival aims to further connect people from both countries, according to Kishida.

Vietnam’s Deputy Prime Minister Tran Luu Quang emphasized that following the success of last year’s festival, this year’s event continues to serve as a bridge to strengthen friendship and mutual trust, promote trade, and enhance multifaceted cooperation and exchange between Vietnam and Japan.