SAN DIEGO — This year, Buddhist Temple of San Diego will be teaming up with the Japanese Friendship Garden of San Diego for the Bon Odori Festival, which will be held in Balboa Park for its centennial on Saturday, Aug. 1.
From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with paid admission, there will be festivities inside the Japanese Friendship Garden, including games, crafts, food and entertainment. The cost is $8 general, $7 for senior, students and military, free for children under 6 and temple members.
From 4 to 8:30 p.m., the Bon Odori Festival will spread out to the Spreckles Organ Pavilion, where the traditional Obon Odori (dance) will begin at 6:30 p.m. Anyone and everyone is welcome to join in. You don’t have to know the dances. There will be instructors positioned on the inside of the dance circle on a yagura (small stage).
The final dance practices will be held on Monday, July 27 (for kids), and Wednesday, July 29, at 7 p.m. at BTSD, 2929 Market St., San Diego. The Obon Again Shop will be open from 5 to 9 p.m. both days for anyone who is looking for something festive but inexpensive to wear at the Bon Odori.
The Bon Odori will have a special tram from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. to extend the tram hours and to help patrons that have trouble walking. This will not be a wheelchair- accessible tram. The BTSD website has a map of Balboa Park with its daily tram stops and special stops for the Bon Odori.
The Japanese Friendship Garden originated as a teahouse during the 1915-16 Panama-California Exposition and now lies on two acres near the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. Along the garden’s winding paths are a Zen garden for meditation, an exhibit house, koi pond, bonsai exhibit, ceremonial gate, and a fujidana (wisteria arbor). Weekend classes are offered in sushi making, bonsai, calligraphy, and conversational Japanese. For information, call (619) 232-2721, email [email protected] or visit www.niwa.org.
Located just minutes from downtown San Diego, Balboa Park can be accessed from most major freeways. Driving and parking can be difficult during peak times or during major events. The park is located at 1549 El Prado. From I-5 southbound, take the 10th Avenue exit, turn left on “A” Street and left again on Park Boulevard, then follow the signs to the park. For more information, visit www.balboapark.org.