Dancers at last year’s Higashi Honganji Bon Odori. (MARIO G. REYES/Rafu Shimpo)
Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple, 505 E. Third St. in Little Tokyo, will hold its annual Obon Festival on Saturday and Sunday, July 30-31, from 1 to 9 p.m.
Obon is a traditional event to honor and express gratitude to the spirits of our ancestors, those before us who provided us with the gift of life. The Obon Festival is held as a celebration of the return of the spirits of our ancestors. It features food, games, farmers’ market, flower market, tea ceremony demonstrations, traditional Bon Odori dancing, and various types of entertainment.
Bon Odori starts at 6:30 p.m. both days. Those who have kachi-kachi, tenugui and uchiwa are asked to bring them.
To honor tea master Shui Matsumura, a tea ceremony demonstration will be held on Saturday at 2 and 3 p.m. in the Red Room. On Sunday, the demonstrations will be held at 1, 2 and 3 p.m. in the Red Room.
Entertainment will be emceed by Shin Ito with guest emcees Rodney Kageyama on Saturday and Helen Ota on Sunday. The lineup is as follows (subject to change):
Saturday, July 30
1:30 p.m.: Crisis
2:30 p.m.: Hereandnow
3 p.m.: Fujima Kansei Odori Kai
3:45 p.m.: Taikoproject
4:30 p.m.: Keiko Kawashima and Scott Nagatani
5:15 p.m.: Bombu Taiko/Kitsune Taiko
6 p.m.: Hatsubon service
6:30 p.m.: Bon Odori
Sunday, July 31
1:30 p.m.: Lumbini Child Development Center Kids
2 p.m.: Mele Ohana Ukulele
2:45 p.m.: Kinnara Taiko
3:30 p.m.: June Kuramoto and Friends
4:30 p.m.: Bombu Taiko/Kitsune Taiko
5:30 p.m.: Hatsubon service
6 p.m.: happyfunsmile
6:30 p.m.: Bon Odori
Go green at Obon by bringing your own reusable bag and water bottle.
Parking will be available at the Medical Building across from the temple at 420 E. Third St. The lot entrance is on Boyd Street. Obon visitors will receive a discounted maximum daily fee of $5, plus a complimentary Obon raffle ticket valued at $3. In order to receive your discount voucher and raffle ticket, bring your stub to the raffle booth at the entrance to the festival. Note: Medical Building parking lot closes at 10 p.m. and other parking lots in Little Tokyo close earlier.
Manto-e services will be held Saturday at 6 p.m. and Sunday at 5:30 p.m., and Obon/Hatsubon service on Sunday at 11:30 a.m.
Also happening this weekend is Delicious Little Tokyo. Visit www.golittletokyo.com for more information.