Comments icon Comments
Food Festival Japanese Lincoln Park

Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya and the Japanese Culture Center (JCC) will host the second annual "Kizuki Chicago Japanese Matsuri" from Friday, September 20 through Sunday, September 22. After their inaugural year in 2018, the Japanese Matsuri will be twice as big and extended to 3 days. Held in NEWCITY Plaza (1457 N Halsted St.) in Lincoln Park near Kizuki's second Chicago restaurant, the 100,000 square foot indoor and outdoor festival will celebrate Japanese culture with food, drink, performances and over 30 vendors.

Guests will be offered free admission with the option to purchase food and drink tickets. 100-percent of the profit from food and drink sales will benefit the JCC and Japanese Arts Foundation (JAF) as they work toward the expansion of the JCC's Lakeview facility in an effort to add a gallery, performance space, artist residences, studies programs, public programs and classes and more. Confirmed sponsors include Rishi Tea, Royce's Chocolates, EVA Air, Suntory, Uniqlo, Shiseido, Tanduay Rum and Kirin Ichiban beer. 


New for 2019, Kizuki will host ramen tours at the restaurant on Saturday and Sunday every hour from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Guests will get a tour of the shop, learn the history of ramen and create their own ramen with a choice of soup, noodle, aromatics, meat, veggies and unlimited toppings for $20 per person. Patrons can also participate in a blind taste test comparison of Kizuki's made-to-order ramen versus a ramen that is created using oils and powder. For tickets, visit:


On Sunday, September 22 at 2 p.m., fest goers can watch the "Ultimate Ramen Challenge" on the center stage, a Ramen Bowl Challenge that Kizuki brought from Toyko to Chicago in July 2016. To win, patrons must finish a bowl of ramen (choice of Tonkotsu Shoyu or Yuzu Shio) that is four times larger than a regular Kizuki serving (about four quarts) in less than 30 minutes without the assistance of others. The first contestant to finish will receive a $100 Kizuki gift card. Interested participants can sign up by September 12 by emailing Kevin at


The former Z Gallerie space will be renamed "Drink World" and filled with beverage vendors including sake from a four different Japanese breweries, select Japanese beers like Saboo and Kirin Ichiban, Japanese whisky from Suntory Whisky, Filipino rum from Tanduay Rum, Japanese shochu from Mesh and Bone, soda, iced tea, water and more. Local Chicago breweries participating will include Forbidden Root showcasing a Strawberry Basil Hefeweizen, Whiner Beer Co. will debut a new pineapple brew and Marz Community Brewing Co. will feature its Yeowoosai Life lager. The second floor space will house a "Retail World" featuring 20 different sections with a variety of local Japanese retailers including Uniqlo, Kinokuniya, Shiseido and more.


All of the food at the festival will be provided by Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya. Japanese food created by Kizuki partner and event organizer Kevin Yu and his team will include items like Chicken Karaage on a Stick, Takoyaki on a Stick (Japanese octopus dumpling), Potato Croquette, Gyoza, Pork Chashu Don, Gyudon, Japanese Chicken Wings, Hiyashi Chuka, Edamame, Spinach Gomae and more.


3 - 4 p.m. | Alexander Staples | Anime Music DJ
5 - 8 p.m. | Van Paugam | 70s and 80s vinyl (City Pop)
TBA | Taiko (Drumming by Tsukasa Taiko)

11 a.m. | Iaido Swordsmanship (Mugai Ryu Iaido)
11:30 a.m. | Karate (JKA Chicago)
12 p.m. | Aikido (Aikido Association of America)
12:30 p.m. | Cosplay Contest (Anime Chicago)
1 p.m. | Koto (Tokiko Kimura)
2 p.m. | Taiko (Drumming by Tsukasa Taiko) & Hekiun Oda Calligraphy Performance (Inside)
3 p.m. | Sumi-e (Patricia Larkin Green)
4 p.m. | BATSU! Chicago (Comedy Show)
5 - 8 p.m. | Euphor Collective (Contemporary Japanese Music DJs)

11 a.m. | Iaido Swordsmanship (Mugai Ryu Iaido)
12:30 p.m. | Aikido (Aikido Association of America)
12 p.m. | Shurikenjutsu (Chicago Keikokai Meifu Shinkage Ryu)
1 p.m. | Koto (Tokiko Kimura)
2 p.m. | Kizuki Ramen Eating Contest
3 p.m. | Japan Street Fashion Show
3:30 p.m. | Large Scale Shodo / Calligraphy (Seiran Chiba Sensei)
4 p.m. | Taiko (Drumming by Tsukasa Taiko)
WHEN:    Friday, September 20: 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.
                Saturday, September 21: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
                Sunday, September 22: 11a.m. to 5 p.m.
                1457 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60642
                Garage parking available
COST:   Free Admission
Food and Drink Tickets: $10: 5 ticket to $20: 11 tickets

From now through Tuesday, September 10, for every $20 Kizuki gift card purchased, guests can get $10 Matsuri food and beverage vouchers (limited supply available). Additionally, through Friday, September 20, attendees will have the option to pre-purchase the matsuri food and beverage vouchers online or through the Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya app and pick them up at the Kizuki Lincoln Park Shop. Patrons will get one free ticket with every 10 purchased. As an added bonus to guests that pre-purchase, while picking up the tickets, will be offered a buy-one get-one free ramen deal on that day only (before September 19). 


View Comments (0)