Dancers at Nishi Hongwanji's 2014 Obon Festival. (Rafu Shimpo photo)
Dancers at Nishi Hongwanji’s 2014 Obon Festival. (Rafu Shimpo photo)

Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist Temple will hold its annual Obon Festival on Saturday, July 11, from 3 to 10 p.m. and Sunday, July 12, from 2:30 to 9 p.m.

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.” To those who have a yukata to wear but don’t know what to do with it, dressers will be available. If you don’t know what you need to dress, email

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

The carnival will feature beef and chicken teriyaki, chirashi and maki sushi, udon, somen, hot dogs, chili rice, Okinawa dango, manju, chashu bao, Paso Almonds, shave ice, beer, soda, and bottled water; games for the children and bingo for the adults as well as a raffle drawing; plenty of farm-fresh produce and plants from San Gabriel Nursery; handmade craft items and white elephant sales. Judo and tea ceremony demonstrations are also on the schedule.

The Obon service will be held at the temple on Sunday, July 19, from 10 a.m. with guest speaker Rev. Masanori Watanabe from the Oxnard Buddhist Temple.

The last dance practices will be held on Tuesday, July 7, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the temple and Thursday, July 9, at 6 p.m. at Keiro Retirement Home.

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 short 0.3-mile walk eastward to the temple. During the weekends, the Gold Line runs every 10 minutes until approximately midnight.

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