Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist Temple will hold its annual Obon Festival on the weekend of July 12 and 13 from 3 p.m.

The scheduled entertainment will include L.A. Matsuri Taiko, Ha’ Aloha Polynesian Dancers, Matsutoyo Kai, Kotobuki no Kai, Amy Singer and Mark Sanwo, Nishi Center Kids, and music by Kokoro.

Dancers at Nishihongwanji Obon Festival.
Dancers at Nishi Hongwanji Obon Festival.

The highlight of the Obon 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.” Guests performing on Sunday will be Nobuko Miyamoto of Great Leap and Quetzal Flores of the Grammy-winning band Quetzal to play their Obon dance piece that brings the neighboring Little Tokyo and Boyle Heights together.

At the carnival, there will be beef and chicken teriyaki, chirashi and maki sushi, udon, somen, hot dogs, chili rice, Okinawa dango, manju, cha shu bao, Paso Almonds, shave ice, boba drinks, beer, soda, and bottled water. There will be many games for the children and bingo for the adults, as well as a raffle drawing. There will also be farm-fresh produce, plant and craft sales as well. Also scheduled will be judo and tea ceremony demonstrations in addition to cultural exhibits.

The Obon service will be held at the temple on Sunday, July 20, from 10 a.m. with guest speakers Rev. Patti Usuki of San Fernando Valley Hongwanji Buddhist Temple and minister emeritus Rev. Seikan Fukuma.

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

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

Event Schedule

Saturday, July 12

Hatsubon service at 2 p.m.

Bell tolling at 3 p.m.

Festival from 3 to 10 p.m.

Bon Odori from 7 to 9 p.m.

Bingo from 5 to 10 p.m.

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

Judo demonstration (in Kaikan) from 3:30 to 4 p.m.

Cultural display (downstairs) from 3 to 8 p.m.

Outdoor Stage

Welcome by Temple President Lonny Quon and emcee Derek Escano at 3 p.m.

Nishi Development Center Kids from 3:05 to 3:45 p.m.

Ho ‘Aloha Polynesian Dancers from 4 to 4:30 p.m.

Special guests from 4:45 to 5:15 p.m.

L.A. Matsuri Taiko from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Break for Obon dancing from 6:45 to 9 p.m.

Kokoro from 9 to 10 p.m.

Sunday, July 13

Hatsubon service at 2 p.m.

Bell tolling at 3 p.m.

Festival from 3 to 9 p.m.

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

Bingo from 4 to 9 p.m.

Tea ceremony demonstrations from 2 to 4 p.m.

Cultural displays from 3 to 7 p.m.

Outdoor Stage

Welcome at 2:30 p.m.

Nishi Development Center Kids from 2:35 to 3:10 p.m.

Matsutoyo Kai from 3:20 to 3:50 p.m.

Amy Singer and Mark Sanwo from 4:45 to 5:15 p.m.

L.A. Matsuri Taiko from 5:20 to 6 p.m.

Break for Obon dancing from 6:15 to 8:30 p.m.

Raffle drawing at 8:30 p.m.

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