From top: Bon Odori, zumba and taiko at Higashi Honganji's 2011 Obon Festival. (Photos by J.K. Yamamoto/Rafu Shimpo)

Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple, 505 E. Third St. (at Central) in Little Tokyo, will hold its 2012 Obon Festival on Saturday and Sunday, July 28-29, from 12 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 and prizes for children and adults, bingo, a farmer’s market, a flower market, tea ceremony demonstrations, traditional Bon Odori dancing, and various types of entertainment.

Hatsubon service will be held Sunday at 11 a.m., Manto-e services both days at 6 p.m., and Bon Odori both days at 6:30 p.m. (The final dance practice is on Friday, July 20, from 7:30 to 9 p.m. in the Social Hall.)

The tradition of Manto-e, which originated about 1,200 years ago, is to light the sky with “ten thousand lanterns,” originating about 1,200 years ago.  Manto-e lanterns can be offered in memory of a departed loved one. To apply for a lantern, click here.

The Ogasawara Ryu Sencha Matsumura Shachu tea ceremony, which is celebrating 20 years at the Higashi Honganji Obon Festival, is scheduled for Sunday at 1, 2 and 3 p.m. downstairs in Room 2.

The emcees for the entertainment will be Shin Ito and Rodney Kageyama. The  performance schedule (subject to change) is as follows:

Saturday, July 8

1 p.m. — Live 4 Today

2 p.m. — Bodhi Tree

2:30 p.m. — Garvey Ranch Dojo

3 p.m. — hereandnow

3:30 p.m. — TaikoProject

4:15 p.m. — Halau Hula ‘a’ ala Anuhea

5 p.m. — Bombu/Kitsune Taiko

6 p.m. — Manto-e service

6:15 p.m. — happyfunsmile

6:30 p.m. — Bon Odori

Sunday, July 29

2 p.m. — Lumbini Child Development

2:30 p.m. — Fujima Kansei Odori Kai

3 p.m. — Local Mojo

4 p.m. — Zuma/Somen Contest

4:30 p.m. — Bombu/Kitsune Taiko

5:30 p.m. — happyfunsmile

6 p.m. — Manto-e service

6:30 p.m. — happyfunsmile/Bon Odori

Parking will be available at the Medical Building at 420 E. Third St., across from the temple (entrance on Boyd Street) for a discounted maximum daily fee of $5 plus a complimentary Obon raffle ticket valued at $3. In order to receive a discount voucher and raffle ticket, bring your parking stub to the raffle booth.

Note: The Medical Building parking lot closes at 10 p.m., and other parking lots in Little Tokyo close earlier.

To purchase gift certificates for food items in $5 increments, click here for the form and send it with payment to the temple office.

For more information, call (213) 626-4200 or visit or

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