MOSCOW – A Japanese festival in Moscow showcased regional specialties from across the country such as food, artisanal goods and tourism spots, with the participation of Russian figure skating star Alina Zagitova.
Zagitova, who won gold at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in South Korea last year, appeared with her dog Masaru — an Akita breed gifted from Japanese fans — at the weekend Sakura Festival, which ended Sunday.
“Japan is almost like a country in a dream,” she said at the two-day festival organized by Japan’s Foreign Ministry and which involved five prefectures, including Niigata and Okinawa.
Surrounded by decorations based on sakura (cherry blossoms), Muscovites stopped by to enjoy demonstrations of Japanese tea ceremony, flower arrangement and cooking.
The pounding of taiko drums punctuated the air and the strumming of koto — a traditional Japanese zither — could be heard. Authorities from each prefecture gave presentations and their individual booths introduced attractions from the regions.
Okinawa, known for its beautiful beaches and residents’ longevity, showed off its health foods and promoted the shores along its emerald-colored sea.
The remote islands of the subtropical chain have been popular with Russian tourists recently.
Yamaguchi Prefecture introduced its Ouchinuri lacquers, which have flourished for 600 years and been designated a traditional Japanese handicraft. Russian matryoshka dolls painted in this fashion were also displayed.
Niigata Prefecture drew interest for its famous cutlery, including saws from Sanjo, a city known for blacksmithing since the 17th century.
Ibaraki Prefecture promoted its alcohol, such as plum wine, while Hokkaido aimed to raise its profile by displaying its abundant regional foods, including a latte made with matcha and cookies.