Bringing Japan to the South West for it's Sixth Year.
We acknowledge the traditional owners of the land, the Wardandi Noongar people, and pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging.
The coastal city of Bunbury in Western Australia is celebrating 31 years of being a Sister City with Japan’s Setagaya City, and six years of the South West Japan Festival.
The #SWJF brings families together from all over Australia to celebrate the art, culture, music, food and dance of Japan- through workshops, themed dinners and food events, tastings, performances, car shows, activities, and fun for the whole family!
This year, we're expanding even further into the South West, adding Busselton venues to our program.
Celebrate with us on Matsuri Day!
Matsuri Day is our official 'Festival Day' that happens in the centre of Bunbury, at the Bunbury Regional Art Gallery (BRAG).
The BRAG premises are transformed into an area of performances, food trucks, workshops, and stalls ran by our visiting Tokyo City university students. Entry is free, but workshops must be purchased in advance via the ticket links online.
Limited Tickets Available per Workshop
How did the SWJF come to be?
The South West Festival of Japan began in 2018 as a way to celebrate the Sister Cities of Bunbury and Setagaya City.
The City of Bunbury created the festival in 2018, which was then a one-day event held at the Bunbury Regional Entertainment Centre. SWJF's current Festival Director, Renee, and International Relations and Festival Manager Carol ran the festival at the time, helping to plan and oversee the festivities.
After seeing the huge amounts of community interest and appeal the Festival brought, it was taken to the public. Renee had started her own events company, Your Turn Events, and took up the South West Japan Festival (formerly South West Festival of Japan).
She has been running it ever since, with the help of local and international sponsorship and partnerships with other Japanese enthusiasts, including Carol McDowall (of multiple International Relations roles), Tokyo City University, CLAIR, Simcoa and WAPRES.
Each year, the stores around the Bunbury CBD are invited to take part in the annual Stamp Rally, and the streets are brought to life with hot pink posters in store windows, happy business owners and mass amounts of foot traffic from people all over the state!
2021 saw the introduction of a 2 week long festival, which was carried into 2022. Last year included multiple events spread through the City of Bunbury, the first ever Japanese Car and Motorbike Matsuri (held at the Bunbury Geographe Motor Museum), sake tasting with the Sake Master, and an incredible Floating Lantern Festival to close the fortnight with a peaceful, community based ceremony.
In 2023, the Festival is expanding further into the South West, with events being created in Busselton AND Dunsborough for the first time in SWJF history!
Meet the Team!
The South West Japan Festival is brought to the fans and lovers of Japanese art, culture (and food!) each year by a team of passionate team members, who love to bring new experiences to the communities and cities of the South West.