At the festival (Photo: VNA)

HCM City (VNA) - The 5th Vietnam-Japan Festival kicked off at the September 23 Park in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1 on January 27.

The festival, with the theme “Holding Hands Tightly”, is the opening of a year-long cultural programme to celebrate the 45th founding anniversary of Vietnam-Japan diplomatic ties (September 21), said Tsutomu Takebe, head of the organising board.

[Vietnam-Japan festival 2018 to take place in HCM City]

The festival will include a Bon dance to honour the spirits of the ancestors. Visitors will receive instructions on how to join the dance and pray for peace for the two countries.

Several seminars on agriculture and education were also organised at the festival, helping visitors to learn more about the two countries’ culture.

Chairman of the HCM City People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Phong affirmed that Japan is one of the most important partners of the city. He voiced his belief that cultural exchange will help Vietnam and Japan foster development in all fields.

The festival will run until January 28, expected to draw 300,000 visitors.-VNA