UPDATED: Nishi Obon Festival to Be Held July 8-9

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A scene from last year’s Bon Odori at Nishi Hongwanji. (J.K. YAMAMOTO/Rafu Shimpo)

The Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist Temple will hold its annual Obon Festival on Saturday, July 8, from 2 to 10 p.m. and Sunday, July 9, from 2 to 8:30 p.m.

The highlight of the festivities will be the Obon dancing, which will begin at 7 p.m. on Saturday and 6:30 p.m. on Sunday. Traditionally, participants from all over Southern California come to dance and share in the temple’s “Gathering of Joy.”

The scheduled stage entertainment will include Taiko Ichiza, Ha’ Aloha Polynesian Dancers, Da Kapakahi’s, Matsutoyo Kai, The Cherry Blossoms, Nishi Center Kids, Music by Kokoro, and more.

At the carnival, food booths will feature beef and chicken teriyaki, chirashi and maki sushi, udon, somen, hot dogs, chili rice, Okinawa dango, manju, chashu bao, Paso Almonds, shave ice, beer, soda, and bottled water.

There will be games for the children and bingo for the adults; a raffle drawing; plenty of plants from San Gabriel Nursery and farm fresh produce; handmade craft items and white elephant sales. Visitors can participate in tea ceremony demonstrations, a there will also be cultural displays as well as Obon/Buddhism Q&A sessions.

The Obon service will be held at the temple on Sunday, July 16, from 10 a.m. with guest speaker Rev. Hiroshi Abiko, former rimban of Nishi Hongwanji and Buddhist Churches of America minister emeritus.

The Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist Temple is located at 815 E. First St. in Los Angeles. For further information, call (213) 680-9130 or visit www.nishihongwanji-la.org.

Access suggestion: Take the Metro Gold Line to the Little Tokyo/Arts District station. From there it is a short 0.3-mile walk eastward to the temple. During the weekends, the Gold Line runs every 10 minutes until approximately midnight.

Saturday, July 8

2 to 4 p.m.: Tea ceremony (temple front)

3:30 to 5 p.m.: Buddhism 101 (Q&A session in Hondo)

4 to 10 p.m.: Bingo

7 to 9 p.m.: Bon Odori

Outdoor Stage

2:50 p.m.: Welcome by Temple President Bessie Tanaka. Emcee: Derek Escano

3 to 3:30 p.m.: Nishi Development Center Kids

3:45 to 4:15 p.m.: Matsutoyo Kai

4:25 to 5 p.m.: Ho’Aloha Polynesian Dancers

5:05 to 5:25 p.m.: TBA

5:30 to 6:30 pm.: L.A. Taiko Ichiza

6:45 to 9 p.m.: Break for Obon dancing (West Lot)

9 to 10 p.m.: Dance music by Kokoro

Sunday, July 9

2 to 4 p.m.: Tea ceremony

3:30 to 5 p.m.: Buddhism 101

4 to 8:30 p.m.: Bingo

6:30 to 8:30 p.m.: Bon Odori

Outdoor Stage

1:50 p.m.: Welcome by Temple President Bessie Tanaka. Emcee: Derek Escano

2 to 2:30 p.m.: Nishi Development Center Kids

2:45 to 3:15 p.m.: Da Kapakahis

3:30 to 4 p.m.: The Cherry Blossoms

4:05 to 4:35 p.m.: TBA

4:45 to 5:30 p.m.: L.A. Taiko Ichiza

5:45 to 8:30 p.m.: Break for Obon dancing

8:30 p.m.: Raffle drawing

Booths (2 to 10 p.m. Saturday, 2 to 8:30 p.m. Sunday): Sushi, manju, chili rice, hot dogs, somen, boba, udon, beef and chicken teriyaki plates, dango, chashu bao, snow cones, drinks; farmer’s market; plant sale; games

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