Will Adams Festival – Medway


Celebrate the legacy of Will Adams at our annual festival.

At the festival you will experience both maritime history and Japanese culture in the 17th and the 21st century.

There’s lots to see and do including:

  • Taiko Drumming
  • martial arts
  • origami and manga
  • Nintendo Wii
  • Japanese Encampment

Event Details

DATE: 7th September 2019

TIME: 11.00 – 16.00

COST: Free entry

LOCATION: Gillingham Park, Gillingham, ME7 5LJ

Festival background

The festival celebrates the life of Will Adams, who grew up in Gillingham during the Tudor period before becoming an experienced sailor in the Royal Navy.

After retiring from the navy, Adams navigated a fleet of five Dutch ships from West Africa.

During this hazardous voyage his ship ran aground on the island of Kyushu in Japan, he was captured, questioned and imprisoned as a pirate. After being released he was ordered to sail to Tokyo.

The Shogun was impressed with his knowledge of shipbuilding and navigation and Adams became a trusted aide and diplomatic adviser.

As a reward, he was granted the honoured title of Samurai and given a small estate in Hemi, which is now known as Yokosuka.



Getting to the festival

There will be limited adjacent street parking or you can easily get to Gillingham Park by public transport.

You can get the following buses:

  • 101 to Jeffrey Street (5 minute walk to park)
  • 182 to Gillingham High Street (15 minute walk to park)
  • 116 to Canterbury Street (1 minute walk to park)
  • 132 to Jezreels (3 minute walk to park).

Please note these are all estimated times.

Dogs are welcome but must be kept on leads.


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