Preparing food for last year’s Japanese Cultural Bazaar.

SAN DIEGO — The 2023 Japanese Cultural Bazaar will be held on Sunday, June 4, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Buddhist Temple of San Diego, 2929 Market St.

First-time visitors are sometimes surprised to find more than Japanese food at our Japanese Bazaar. What can we say?

Tacos? We live in San Diego, and some of our temple members grew up speaking Spanish as a first language, Japanese as a second, and English as a third. One of those families prepares our tacos.

Chow mein? For Japanese in Japan and for JapaneseAmericans in San Diego, Chinese food remains something special. For us it’s notalgia. If you remember the golden period of Cantonese-style Chinese take-out, try our old-school pan-fried noodles with tasty pork-laced sauce. 

Here are just some of what we have planned.

Baked half-chicken, teriyaki honey glaze, and fixings — sells out first!

Chow mein with pan-fried noodles

Mako’s Tacos (vegetarian-friendly)

Angie’s Tacos

Tofu Salsd (vegetarian-friendly)

Bakery goods, including homemade delectables

Snack Shack, drinks and more

(Food selection subject to change)

Admission is free to the bazaar and all our presentations. When you come early you won’t miss anything you want to see, including performances of taiko, shamisen and koto; Mexican folklorico and Japanese dancing; demonstrations of martial arts and ink-brush painting; and more.

Entertainment Schedule

11 a.m.: Buddhist Temple of San Diego Taiko (outside)

11:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m.: Matsumae Kai, shamisen ensemble under the direction of Mrs. Monji. Japanese folk songs. (Annex Hall)

Intro to Buddhism with minister’s assistant. View our Buddhist worship area and altar for a discussion of the basics of Jodo Shinshu Buddhism. Followed by Q&A. (Hondo)

12:30-1 p.m.: San Diego Taiko (outside)

1:15-1:45 p.m.: Kamishibai featuring Walter Ritter. Japanese-style itinerant storytelling. (Annex Hall)

Masazumi Kai, koto ensemble under the direction of Mrs. Mizuno. (Hondo)

2-2:30 p.m.: Edo Kotobuko Jishi, shi shi mai or lion dance with live accompaniment by musicians playing taiko, yotobue, and atarigane (drums, flute, and gong). (Annex Hall)

2:45-3:15 p.m.: Ballet Folklorico, featuring Andrea Covarrubias. Mexican folk dancing. (Annex Hall)

Sumi-e, Japanese ink painting, featuring Wendy Nakamura. (Hondo)

3:15-3:45 p.m.: Shofukan Kendo Dojo, under the direction of Tiffany Kao. Martial art using the katana (traditional Japanese sword). (Annex Hall)

Opportunity Drawing

Grand prize: $1,000

First prize: Sycuan Casino & Resort for two-night stay for two, meal for two

Second prize: Opening Night tickets, “Tina: The Musical”

Plus many more prizes.

New and returning vendors have donated a wealth of gift cards and other items, so don’t miss out! You can order tickets by calling the temple or purchasing them at the door.

Door prizes are pulled at 12, 1, 2 and 3 p.m. Come early to improve your chances for all four drawings. Winners of door prizes remain in the drawing for all our other prizes.

You must be present to claim a door prize; you do not have go be present to win prizes from the main drawing, conducted at 4 p.m. after the bazaar closes its other booths.

Crafts and Treasures

White Elephant Shop has fashion and handcrafted items along with other bargains.

This year, we have a large selection of designer purses, vintage jewelry, and aloha-wear, plus cookbooks and crafting books, along with giftware, handcrafts, and a selection of craft supplies and tools.

We don’t have room to put everything out, so if there’s something you are especially wanting, let us know in advance, and if we still have it, we’ll put it out, or make arrangements for pre- or post-bazaar sales and pick-up. (Examples include knitting machines and accessories, and coned yarn for them.)

Silent Auction

This year only, our Silent Auction will be at a booth with 15-20 our our most desirable donations from vendors.

The reason for this iteration, smaller than we have done traditionally? Key temple members are in Kyoto for most of May to attend a special observation. So while we are not sharing a large roomful of Silent Auction items, we are doing a miniature version at an outdoor booth. We set aside a few of our most valuable donations for you to bid on.

Community Booths: We welcome a variety of booths for community partners to share information with our guests.

Children’s Games: Our Jr. YBA is providing games for kids (low-cost ntickets required) as in previous years. Every kid wins a little something at the games.

Obon Again

This year only, the Obon Again Asian Resale Shop has the entire Sangha Hall (this is the location of the Silent Auction in prior years) to display great bargains on new and gently used items from around Asia with an emphasis on Japanese things. We have clothing, ceramics, artwork, and more — all at rock-bottom prices. Find your one-of-a-kind souvenir here.

Note: Proceeds from the Bon Again Shop benefit the temple’s Scholarship Fund. All other funds raised at the bazaar go to the maintenance and upkeep of our physical plant.

Beer Garden

Featuring micro-brewery beer and sake from around California. Some selections include: Burning Beard Brewing Company, Creative Creature Brewing Company, Monkish Brewing Company, and Sake High! Craft Sake.

Bring your food and come enjoy some great libations. Must be 21+ to enter.

For more information, call (619) 239-0896, email or visit

Parking and Directions

Please park nearby on surface streets, as our parking lot is used for our many booths, shops, and demontrations. Local businesses may not be open on Sunday but they typically have contracts with towing companies who will tow non-customers’ cars at any time. If we learn of a specific business that will allow parking in their spaces, we will let you know. Directions and a map of our temple buildings can be found here:

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