PACOIMA — The San Fernando Valley Hongwanji Buddhist Temple will hold its annual Obon memorial observances on Sunday, July 8, at 10 a.m.

This special Obon service will be held at the temple, 9450 Remick Ave., Pacoima, officiated by Rev. Patricia Usuki, resident minister, with guest Rev. Tetsunen Hirota officiating in Japanese. During the service, there will be a special Hatsubon ceremony to remember those who have passed away since last year’s Obon.

A drummer keeps the beat at the San Fernando Valley Hongwanji Buddhist Temple's 2011 Obon Festival. (Photo by MARIO G. REYES/Rafu Shimpo)

The temple’s Obon Festival will take place on Saturday, June 30, and Sunday, July 1, at the San Fernando Valley Japanese American Community Center.  Dancers of all ages in colorful kimono and happi coats will perform traditional Japanese folk dances celebrating the Buddhist Festival of Joy, which started centuries ago as a religious custom to remember and honor deceased loved ones. It is observed by Buddhists everywhere at this time of year. All attendees are encouraged to join in these simple dances.

West L.A. Taiko will start each evening’s festivities with a rousing drum performance. Highlighting the festival, ethnic Japanese and American foods such as udon noodles, sushi, and teriyaki chicken will be sold during the event. There will be free exhibits of bonsai plants, beautiful flower arrangements and handmade Japanese dolls. Many games and prizes can be enjoyed by the entire family.

San Fernando Valley Hongwanji Buddhist Temple cordially invites the public to this lively event, held for over 50 years at the SFVJACC, 12953 Bradford St. in Pacoima. Hours are from 4:30 to 9 p.m. both days. There is no admission charge.

Note: The Branford exit on the 5 Freeway is closed, so take either Sheldon or Osborne to Laurel Canyon Boulevard, which is parallel to the Golden State.

For further information, contact the temple at (818) 899-4030 or visit

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