Black Ships Festival

  • 13 Jul 2018
  • 15 Jul 2018
  • Independence Park, 419-459 Thames St, Bristol, RI 02809

Black Ships Festival

Friday - Sunday, July 13-15, 2018


Independence Park

419-459 Thames St, Bristol, RI 02809

Black Ships Sets Sail for Bristol!

The 35th Anniversary of the Black Ships Festival will take place in Bristol, RI. Two Sushi Sake Sails Aboard the Schooner Aurora will depart from Goat Island in Newport, but the rest of the weekend’s activities will take place in Independence Park and the elegant waterside tent at the Herreshoff Museum.

The Festival kicks off on Friday, July 13, at 10:30 a.m., with an opening ceremony in Independence Park to commemorate Newport’s native son, Matthew C. Perry. Highlights of the event will include wreath-laying, speeches by Japanese dignitaries color presentation by the Navy Color Guard and the Navy Band.

The “Black Ships,” or “Kurofune,” refers to the Japanese term for foreign ships which, with one exception, were excluded from Japan for 200 years, until 1854. The Black Ships Festival celebrates the signing of the Treaty of Kanagawa, by Commodore Perry and Japan.

The celebration of friendship between Japan and Rhode Island is commemorated during both the Black Ships festivals in Shimoda and Rhode Island. This year is the 79th festival in Shimoda. The Black Ships Festival is presented by the Japan-America Society and Black Ships Festival of Rhode Island, Inc., a non-profit, non-partisan organization. 

Friday night will be filled with Taiko Drum Performances & a Japanese Hip-Hop Street Dance Team at Herreshoff. On Saturday, an Arts and Crafts Fair full of Japanese culture and martial arts demonstrations will be held at Independence Park, followed by an elegant gala at the Herreshoff waterside tent.

Calendar of Events

Friday July 13th 2018

Festival Opening Ceremonies
10:30 AM • Independence Park, Bristol (Thames Street) 

Sushi Sake Sail Aboard the Schooner Aurora
3:00 PM – 5:00 PM • GOAT ISLAND MARINA

Taiko Drum Performances & Japanese Hip-Hop Street Dance Team
7:00pm-8:30pm- Herreshoff Waterside Tent

Saturday July 14th 2018

 Arts & Crafts and Martial Arts Fair- Independence Park
10:00 AM – 4:00 PM • Independence Park

Independence Park on Thames Street is transformed into a Japanese-American Cultural Center, featuring demonstrations, workshops, and displays.

Festivities include: arts and crafts and martial arts demonstrations, Japanese food, origami and calligraphy, Shin Daiko Taiko drumming, sushi making demonstrations, bonsai demonstrations, tea ceremony demonstrations, a Navy Band performance, a Koto performance, and more! Street dance team 12DC from Shimoda Japan will be performing, and the Consulate General of Japan in Boston will be there to demonstrate how to celebrate the Summer like they do in Japan with summer festival activities.

Black Ships Festival Gala
6:30 PM • The Elegant Waterside Tent at Herreshoff Museum

Sunday July 15th 2018

Sushi Sake Sail Aboard the Schooner Aurora
11:00 AM – 1:00 PM • GOAT ISLAND MARINA 

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