JAPAN AROUND THE WORLD 3 4 March, 2018 The I Love Ireland Festival was held again this year in Yoyogi Park, Shibuya over the Saint Patrick’s Day weekend. Started in 2014, today this is largest Irish event in Asia. The Ireland Funds Japan again was very happy to support this event promoting Irish culture, sport and educa- tion and community in Japan. The festival showcased the best of Ireland to Japan, including Irish culture, sport, music and dance, food and drinks and of course friendly craic. This year we also highlighted rugby, as the Rugby World Cup will be hosted in Japan in 2019 and Ireland's rugby team had just won the Grand Slam that weekend. It was estimated that over 120,000 people attended from Japan, Ireland and many other countries. The number continues to increase each year and the Festival was blessed with beautiful sunshine all weekend. The Festival was honored to be joined by the Irish Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Eoghan Murphy T.D., Ambassador of Ireland to Japan Anne Barrington, members of the Japanese rugby team including Hitoshi Ono. Also attending were Miss World Japan Haruka Yamashita and Miss World Ireland Niamh Kennedy. There were over 40 booths related to Ireland and the attendees enjoyed Irish food, drinks and goods provided by each booth. Over 20 Japanese and Irish musicians and dancers contributed to an authentic Irish experience. There was also sig- nificant press coverage exposing Ireland to a larger and broader Japanese audience. I Love Ireland Festival 1 2 connect 2018 • 83