Sponsored by the Ikebukuro West Exit Shopping District Association, Hula Festa started at the Ikebukuro West Exit Park in 2003 to mainly entertain locals on the west side of Ikebukuro station and energize the area. The Toshima City Tourism Association (TCTA) supported the goal and has been an enthusiastic sponsor since 2008. Performance stages were then added on the rooftop of Tobu Department Store, at Sunshine City Fountain Plaza, in Higashi Ikebukuro Central Park and at the Toshima City Office Center Square, as the event expanded to both sides of Ikebukuro Station.
Toshima City joined as a sponsor in 2009 and the Hula Festa Executive Committee was established, bringing the City administration and residents together. Hula Festa has now grown to the Toshima City’s full-fledged grand event in summer, able to attract hula dance teams and audiences from all over Japan.
During the Hula Festa, usually a three-day event including the festival eve, Ikebukuro and surrounding areas are in an upbeat festive mood, and participating hula teams and Hawaiian bands give hula recitals and performances.
The Ikebukuro Nishiguchi Park is the main event site and a famous kumu hula (master hula instructor) from Hawaii joins the festival every year. The main site offers a lot of food and drinks stands, and visitors and locals alike savor cold beers at a beer garden while enjoying hula and band performances.
Hula workshops (TBA) will be open to those who are scheduled to participate in the festival.
Toshima City and the Toshima City Tourism Association (TCTA) maintain friendly ties with an NPO called the Waikiki Improvement Association. The NPO organizes an annual hula-related event, and a Japanese hula team recommended by Toshima City and TCTA will have an opportunity to perform at the event in Honolulu.