Your Ultimate Guide to the 27th Annual Honolulu Festival

The Honolulu Festival returns after a three-year hiatus with more food products, fairs and vibrant cultural performances.


We hereby declare 2023 the comeback year for all our favorite events! The Honolulu Festival took a hiatus during the pandemic for three years, save for a televised event in 2021. Here’s everything you need to know about what to eat, which performances to watch and what to expect.


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Photo Courtesy of the Honolulu Festival


What It Is

The Honolulu Festival is a three-day extravaganza that celebrates the harmony between cultures of Hawai’i and the Pacific Rim region with food, dancing, educational exhibits, a film festival and much more. The schedule is packed with activities.


When and Where

This year, the Honolulu Festival will take place on Friday, March 10 through Sunday, March 12. While there are invite-only events like educational school tours and a Governor’s luncheon reception, the majority of the events will take place at the Hawai’i Convention Center. Stage performances take place at Hawai’i Convention Center, Ala Moana Center and Waikīkī Beach Walk.


What It Costs

Admission to all the events is free! Generally, cash and card will be accepted if you want to purchase products at the Kyuushu Food Fair and the Sake and Food Fair. ATMs are available at two locations on the lobby and next to the business center on the 3rd floor.



Honolulu Festival

Photo Courtesy of Honolulu Festival Foundation



There’s plenty of things to do, so here’s a breakdown of events throughout the weekend.



Friday, March 10


Friendship Gala, 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

An annual food-lovers gala that includes dishes from 8 participating restaurants Aloha Table Waikīkī, Aloha Steak House, Camado Tavern, Heavenly Island Lifestyle, Goofy Café + dine, The Seaside, Zigu and nature Waikīkī. Dishes include classics like garlic shrimp, NY Sirloin Steak with Maui Onion Sauce, sushi, takoyaki, shrimp and taco ceviche, mazesoba, and a local sweet potato mont blanc.
This is the only ticketed event, at $100 which includes food and one beverage. Free admission for under five years old (no beverage included). Doors open at 6:50 p.m. and the event begins 7 p.m. Free validated parking is available at the reception desk. Purchase tickets here.



Saturday, March 11


All the events on listed below will be held at the Hawai‘i Convention Center.


Japanese Film Festival, 10 a.m. to 5:05 p.m.

Held on the third floor, room #311 of the convention center, attendees can view Japanese films for free.

  • 10 a.m. to 11:40 a.m.: The Sketch of Life
  • 1 p.m. to 3:07 p.m.: A LONG GOODBYE
  • 4 p.m. to 5:05 p.m.: Sumikkogurashi: Good to be in the corner


Bon Dance, Noon to 12:15 p.m.; 2:20 to 2:35 p.m.


Sake & Food Fest, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

For the first time ever, the Honolulu Festival will include a Sake & Food Fest coordinated by the Cherry Company. Attendees can learn about the history of sake and taste limited samples of sake (made from rice), shochu (made from sweet potato), awamori (Okinawan shochu made from Thai rice), specialty beer, and liqueurs featuring Japanese fruits like yuzu, ume, satsuma and dekopon orange. Vendors include Kikusui Sake Co., Tatennokawa Shuzo, Nihon Sakari and Choya


Kyushu Food Fair, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Another debut event is the Kyushu Food Fair, where you can purchase food items like osenbei, candy, jelly, specialty ramen and cookies. More than 50 products will be for sale.Scrips will be used for purchases at the Kyushu Food Fair. Cash and card will be accepted to buy scrips


Craft Fair, Ennichi and Food Corner, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The Craft, Ennichi and Food Corner includes more than 100 vendors exhibiting from around the world including Hawai‘i and Japan. The ennichi corner will include games and activities for keiki like water balloon fishing, ball toss, ring toss, mini bowling and more.


Maui Mikoshi Exhibit, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The Maui Mikoshi is a high school competition where students design a mikoshi, or a decorated shrine that is carried around on long poles. The winning Maui Mikoshi is displayed at the Hawai’i Convention Center over the weekend.


Stage Performances, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The stage performances include dance, music and traditional arts by groups from Hawai’i, Japan, Australia, Philippines and much more. These performances will be taking place the convention center, Ala Moana Center and Waikīkī Beach Walk. For a full list of groups, you can visit here.


Aloha Dance Convention 2023: Dance Summit, 4:15 p.m. to 5:40 p.m.

Watch Japanese groups Banzai Japan, Waseda University’s Getappers and Worldwings Dance Company perform on stage.


Hitomi Shimatani Official Ambassador Inauguration Mini-Live, 5 to 5:30 p.m.

Held on the stage on the first floor, this event commemorates Hiroshima singer Hitomi Shimatani as the 27th Honolulu Festival official ambassador.



Sunday, March 12


Sake & Food Festival, Kyushu Food Fair, Craft Fair/ Ennichi Corner / Food Corner; Maui Mikoshi Exhibit, Stage Performances, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.


JTB Travel and Culture Seminar in Hawai’i, 10 to 11:30 a.m.

In its 40th year, this seminar held at the Hawai‘i Convention Center allows leading experts to talk about current trends and share their insight about the tourism industry.


Japanese Film Festival, Hawai‘i Convention Center, 10 a.m. to 2:17 p.m.

  • 10 a.m. to 11:54 a.m.: Cinematic Liars of Asahi-za
  • 1 p.m. to 2:17 p.m.: The Long Ume Tree


Bon Dance, Hawai‘i Convention Center, 12:20 to 12:35 p.m.


Grand Parade, Kalākaua Avenue, 4 to 8 p.m.

Come early to the Grand Parade to see opening performances at the different emcee stands along Kalākaua Avenue. The parade starts at Saratoga Avenue (next to Fort Derussy) and ends at Kapahulu Avenue, at the entrance to Kapi’olani Park, featuring cultural groups, music, marching bands, parade floats and traditional performers from Hawai‘i, Japan and other Asia-Pacific countries. Crossing Rain, Hawai‘i’s local K-pop roup will perform at Area D near Lili‘uokalani Avenue at 4 p.m. The Grand Parade starts at 4:30 p.m. Parade info can be found at


Nagaoka Hanabi (Nagaoka Fireworks), Waikīkī Beach, 8:30 to 8:45 p.m.

Presented by the Nagaoka Fireworks Foundation, this 15-minute fireworks show is the culmination of the three-day festival. You can tune into radio station 105KINE which will be playing music in sync to the fireworks show.



Official Event Program

Scan the QR code below to see the lineup of the performances at the various event stages, the Grand Parade, and maps of the different event venues. This special webpage translates into 109 languages based on your phone language setting.
Qr Code Honolulu Festival 2023




  • There’s no validated parking for the festival (except for the Friendship Gala) and parking in the Hawai’i Convention Center is available for $15 per entry. Carpooling might be a smart option to split costs.
  • The restrooms outside the exhibit have a baby changing station. The ones after you exit the elevator in the lobby are close to a nursing pod where moms can breastfeed their babies.
  • Wear comfortable shoes for all your walking and standing.
  • For both the parade and fireworks, plan to arrive early with picnic chairs or blankets to find a good viewing spot.