Dancers at the 2012 SFVHBT Obon Festival. (J.K. YAMAMOTO/Rafu Shimpo)

San Fernando Valley Hongwanji Buddhist Temple will hold its Obon Festival on Saturday and Sunday, June 29-30, 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.

Rousing drum performances will start each evening’s festivities — UCLA’s Kyodo Taiko on Saturday and West L.A. Taiko on Sunday.

Highlighting the festival, ethnic Japanese and American foods such as udon and somen noodles, sushi, and teriyaki chicken will be sold during the event. To keep you cool, there will be chilled refreshments, including fabulous shave ice.

Also enjoy free exhibits of bonsai plants 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 annually for over 50 years at the SFVJACC, 12953 Branford St. in Pacoima (from the Golden State Freeway, take the Osborne Street exit; the Branford exits from I-5 are closed).

Hours are from 4:30 to 9 p.m. each evening. There is no admission charge.

The temple will hold its annual Obon memorial observances on Sunday, July 7, at 10 a.m. This special service will be held at the temple, 9450 Remick Ave., Pacoima. Guest speaker Rev. Kazuaki Nakata of Los Angeles Hompa Hongwanji Betsuin will offer a Dharma message in both English and Japanese.

During the service, there will be a special Hatsubon ceremony to remember those who have passed away since last year’s Obon.

For further information, call (818) 899-4030 or visit





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