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Annual east Japan 'gyoza' dumpling festival canceled for 1st time due to virus

Fresh "gyoza" dumplings are seen at the 2018 Utsunomiya Gyoza Matsuri festival in the city of Utsunomiya, Tochigi Prefecture. (Mainichi/Keina Hagihara)

UTSUNOMIYA -- A "gyoza" dumpling festival held every November in this city north of Tokyo has been canceled for the first time in its 22-year history due to the coronavirus pandemic, the event's executive committee announced on Aug. 25.

    The decision to cancel the Utsunomiya Gyoza Matsuri festival was made because prospects for the pandemic ending remain uncertain, and it would be difficult to ensure visitors' safety. Some 170,000 people took part in the event last year.

    The festival has been held in Utsunomiya, Tochigi Prefecture, every year since 1999, and this year was supposed to be its 22nd edition. During the event, about 30 gyoza shops sell plates of three dumplings for 100 yen. The event attracts many people from both inside and outside the prefecture, drawn to the chance to taste and compare the myriad gyoza on offer.

    An alternative project is being planned by the Utsunomiya Gyoza-kai group, which is set to make an announcement on its official website (in Japanese) as soon as the content has been decided.

    (Japanese original by Soon Lee, Utsunomiya Bureau)

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