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Lets go on a daytrip to one of Germany’s nicest cities, Düsseldorf. The history of the capital of North Rhine-Westphalia goes back to the 7th and 8th century when some settlements were built along the Rhine river, right where the Düssel river ends. The other half of its name “dorf” means “village”, but nowadays it’s one of the largest and also most prosperous cities in the country with a population of 600,000 and over 1 million in the metropolitan area.
Düsseldorf is also is home to Germany’s largest Japanese population (6.500), which is one of Europe’s largest concentrations. Also, over 350 Japanese companies are registered here, so you can imagine the ties between Düsseldorf and Japan are very strong. To celebrate this fact an annual Japan Day is organised. In 2017 this festival takes place on Saturday 20 May, with countless performances, presentations, costumes and an amazingly colourful Japanese Fireworks.
Our luxury bus
We leave in the morning at 10h00 from Place Schuman by 4* luxury coach, with DVD and flat screen TVs, on-board toilet, mini-bar, extra reclining seats, and extra leg space with foot rests. After about 2,5 hours of driving, including a short stop to stretch our legs and get a coffee, we arrive in Düsseldorf.
Lyzzy (own work, CC BY-SA 3.0), via Wikimedia Commons
Gakuro (own work), via Wikimedia Commons
We begin our special “Japan Day” Düsseldorf trip with a short visit to the beautiful Japan EKÔ-House. This is about as Japanese as it can get in Europe with beautiful Japanese buildings and gardens. This institution was established by Yehan Numata, the founder of the Mitutyo Society and of the “Society for Buddhist Understanding”. The EKÔ Center of Japanese Culture offers courses and introductions into the traditional Japanese culture, which is rooted in Buddhism, it presents the Japanese lifestyle, explains Buddhism as a foundation of Eastern thought and promotes the cultural exchange. (source EKÔ-House website)
Upon arrival we will immediately have lunch in the well-known Benkay restaurant in the famous Japanese Nikko Hotel Bekan. There are many Japanese restaurants in the city, and that the quality is generally very high due to the stiff competition. We will enjoy the Gozen menu (to be confirmed), which is a more noble, almost festive kind of menu. All dishes are served at once at our table.
シェフおすすめ御膳 – GOZEN LUNCH MENU
Boiled Green Soy Beans with Sea Salt
Grilled Pork with Teriyaki Sauce
Udon Noodle Soup with Vegetable Tempura
The famous Königsallee with its beautiful trees and luxury shops
After lunch you will have plenty of free time to explore the city. Düsseldorf is a shopping paradise with many large stores as well as many luxury shops. In fact, the city is known for Germany’s most expensive shopping street, the famous and beautiful green Königsallée. The city also boasts several top museums, including the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf and Kunst im Tunnel museums.
Another area worth exploring is the Medienhafen district, with several architectural masterpieces. The modernisation of the harbour area and its many old dilapidated warehouses was done by famous architects such as Frank O. Ghery and Claude Vasconi. Currently it is a hot place to be and therefore hundreds of companies have moved into the new and renovated buildings. As you can see on the picture, you could also go up the 240 meter high Rheinturm to get a spectacular view of the city below (optional, but highly recommended – open until 16h00!).
The main reason for going to Düsseldorf on this date is its annual Japan Day. As stated above, the city is home to the largest Japanese population in Germany (and Europe!). To celebrate this a fantastic festival, virtually the entire Rheinufer (the promenade along the river) is transformed into a Japanese world.
“Fantastic” also because many people dress up for the occasion as their favourite Japanese fantasy figure.
During the festival you can attend special demonstrations of Japanese (martial) arts and music, pop culture, as well as spectacular performances of dancers, drummers and artists.
The day ends with a spectacular Japanese fireworks over the Rhein river. With its typical very bright colours and as-perfect-as-possible shapes, this is one of Germany’s most beautiful shows. We depart directly after the end back to Brussels. Needless to say we arrive rather late, but rest assured that we will make some additional stops to get you as close to your home as possible, including Merode and Montgomery. Also we try to coordinate shared rides.