Above and below: Scenes from last year’s Bon Odori. (J.K. YAMAMOTO/Rafu Shimpo)

The Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist Temple will hold its annual Obon Festival on July 13 and 14 from 3 to 10 p.m. on Saturday and 3 to 9 p.m. on Sunday.

The highlight of the festivities will be the Obon dancing, which will begin at 7 p.m. on Saturday and 6 p.m. on Sunday. Traditionally, participants from all over Southern California come to dance and share in the temple’s “Gathering of Joy.”

The scheduled stage entertainment will include Taiko Ichiza along with JSPACC Kizuna Taiko, Ha’ Aloha Polynesian Dancers, Matsutoyo Kai, ABASonics, and Nishi Center Kids. Music by Kokoro and dancing on Saturday evening.

At the carnival, food booths will offer 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. There will be games for the children and bingo for the adults as well as a raffle drawing.

Plenty of plants from San Gabriel Nursery and farm fresh produce will be on sale. There will also be hand-made craft items and white elephant sales, tea ceremony demonstrations and cultural displays.

The Obon service will be held at the temple on July 21 from 10 a.m., with guest speaker Rev. George Matsubayashi, former rimban of Nishi Hongwanji and Buddhist Churches of America minister emeritus.

Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist Temple is located at 815 E. First St. (at Vines) in Little Tokyo. For further information, call (213) 680-9130.

Access suggestion: Take the Metro Gold Line to the Little Tokyo/Arts District Station. From there it is a short 0.3-mile walk eastwards to the temple.

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