The Japanese Festival doesn't just take place in the Missouri Botanical Garden (4344 Shaw Boulevard; 314-577-5100 or www.mobot.org), it takes over the garden. The spacious grounds have so many people in them that it's hard to believe there's anybody left in St. Louis who's not at the festival. Don't let that dissuade you from going, however; the bustle of all those people just makes it feel more Japanese. Besides, you'll be too busy enjoying yourself to notice the crowds. Whether you're a fan of the austere beauty of ikebana (Japanese floral arranging), the ancient power of sumo, the rousing cannonade of taiko drumming or are just really into the way bonito fish flakes dance on top of those Japanese pancakes available in the concession area, you're going to have a good time. The Japanese Festival is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday (September 4 through 6). Admission is $5 to $15.
Sept. 4-6, 2010