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Düsseldorf is regarded as the traditional Japanese heartland of Europe. The city is home to a quarter of all Japanese people living in Germany. This is celebrated with Japan Day – an annual festival of cultures that first took place in 2002. There are calligraphy presentations, samurai displays and performances by music groups, and the ladies can even try on a kimono!

Düsseldorf's 13th Japan Day falls on 17 May 2014. The day's celebrations culminate in a spectacular firework display designed by pyrotechnic masters who fly in specially from Japan. For the ultimate view of the fireworks, watch from aboard a Rhine riverboat.

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If you like the sound of fresh fish nestled in a crusty bread roll, head to Schleswig-Holstein on 3 May 2014 for world fish roll day (Weltfischbrötchentag). Special events and activities will be taking place along the region's Baltic Coast and by the freshwater lakes of the Holsteinische Schweiz region. You can take a trip on a cutter boat, attend shanty-choir concerts and get a glimpse behind the scenes at traditional fisheries and smokehouses.

The first world fish roll day was held in 2011 and has been hugely popular ever since. Come and discover the culinary and cultural variety on offer!

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The Ruhr Piano Festival, now in its 26th year, will be presenting 70concerts starring international pianists from 9 May to 12 July 2014. Performances will be staged in 19 towns and cities across the Ruhr valley. The festival is justifiably considered the highlight of the region's cultural calendar and is one of the world's leading events for pianists.

This year's festival has five main themes, including the 150th anniversary of the birth of Richard Strauss, the unique Beethoven summit, journeys into the world of the etudes, and the JazzLine concerts.

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If you are an aviation enthusiast, be sure not to miss the ILA Berlin Air Show.

From 23 to 25 May, between 10am and 6pm, you'll be able to see well over 200 aircraft – from historical planes to state-of-the art demonstrators – at the Berlin ExpoCenter Airport exhibition grounds. The breathtaking flying show is a particular highlight.

A big plus for young families is the free, professional childcare offered during the weekend, when the show is open to the public.

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Face to face with art: can you imagine huge black and white portraits staring back at you from buildings, stairways, walls and rooftops? The latest exhibition at the Frieder BurdaMuseumsin Baden-Baden, on show until 29 June 2014, presents the most important works of JR, the French artist born in 1983 who typifies the international contemporary street art scene.

JR installs his black and white photographic images in urban public spaces all around the world, almost as if they were monumental billboards. The nature of his art means that he works in the most diverse locations, mostly in Paris and New York, and in different culturaland social contexts.

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The 44th International Dixieland Festival will be taking place in Dresden from 11 to 18 May 2014. This jazz festival is hugely popular, and not only among jazz fans. The event, the biggest celebration of oldtime jazz in Europe, keeps this musical tradition alive for visitors of all ages and offers a lively and friendly atmosphere, cosmopolitan flair and artistic performances of the highest calibre.

A tip for anyone driving to the festival: because of limited parking, it is advisable to park your car in the outskirts of the city and travel to the event venues by public transport.

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With the arrival of spring, people in Germany are tempted back on their bikes and out into nature! The start of the cycling season gets under way in Brandenburg with an event on 12 and 13 April. The guided tours on offer are between 20km and 50km in length and are also suitable for novice cyclists.

Fans of electric bikes might like to ride through the Jura hills in Bavaria or try out the new touring maps of Lower Saxony. Another option is the inaugural Mecklenburg Lakes 'Seen Runde' event, a series of cycling races held in the Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania region on 23 and 24 May.

To find out about other cycling routes in Germany, simply visit www.germany.travel/en/leisure-and-recreation/cycling/cycling.

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From 26 April to 4 May 2014 people will be flocking to Werder an der Havel to celebrate the Tree Blossom Festival. Set amid beautiful natural scenery, this delightful festival is known for its friendly atmosphere. The tours of the orchards in and around Werder are a great way to get a taste of German gemütlichkeit. You can also look forward to wine tastings, delicious fooddelicious food and entertainment at its best, with lots of musical performances and all kinds of different fairground rides.

Additional train services are laid on from nearby Berlin, making it easy to visit the festival from the German capital.

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The Brühl palace concerts will open on 10 May 2014 in the beautiful setting of Augustusburg Palace. The ceremonial staircase at this UNESCO World Heritage site is undoubtedly one of the most remarkable concert venues in Germany. This year's concert season will end in August with a firework display set to music in the palace gardens.

Augustusburg and Falkenlust palaces and their baroque gardens were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1984 and present a exquisite fusion of architecture, art and landscape design.

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The Palmengarten in Frankfurt has been cultivating azaleas ever since it was founded. You can admire the finest specimens from its collection at the Azaleas exhibition, which runs from 16 April to 4 May. As well as azaleas, which are a symbol of spring and good fortune in Asia, the show will also include bamboo and hydrangeas from the Palmengarten collection.

This year the gardens will once again be taking part again in the Luminale, Frankfurt's biennale of light art. On from 30 March to 4 April, this multifaceted event sees the whole of Frankfurt transformed by spectacular light installations.

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