On July 5, the historical festival “Ommegang”, with Japan as the country of honor as part of the 150 Years of Friendship between Japan and Belgium, was held in the Brussels Grand Place. Ambassador Ishii gave a speech wearing a “hitatare” costume (formal garment of high-ranking samurai) and Japanese food and sake were offered to the guests at the reception before the parade. The procession in the Grand Place started with a performance of taiko drums and volunteers dressed in costumes of the warring states period including samurai armour, ninja and warrior attire as well as the “uchikake” (kimono) followed. Ambassador Ishii also took part in the parade, resulting in a warm applause and cheering from the many spectators.
The Ommegang festival was also held on July 7.