Above and below: Dancing and drumming at VHBT’s 2019 Bon Odori. (J.K. YAMAMOTO/Rafu Shimpo)

Following an amazing Obon Festival in 2022, the Venice Hongwanji Buddhist Temple (VHBT), located at 12371 Braddock Dr. in the Venice-Culver City area (corner of Centinela), will hold its 2023 Obon Festival on Saturday and Sunday, July 15-16, from 3 to 9 p.m. 

Obon is a time to express our gratitude to loved ones who have passed on before us. We will be holding our festival, which is open to all, with Obon dancing, including fan favorites such as “Ei Ja Nai Ka,” “One Plus One,” “Hokkai no Abarembo,” and, of course, “Tanko Bushi.” Dancing will be held on the street, starting at 7 p.m. both nights.

Besides sushi, chicken salad, hot dogs, chili and shave ice, we will be selling Venice favorites such as our grilled boneless chicken teriyaki, our famous wonton (can you guess our secret ingredient?), and extra-fluffy andagi (Okinawa dango). 

After a brief hiatus, our famous udon returns (as seen previously in The Rafu), with home-made dashi soup, handed down from generation to generation.

Both indoor and outdoor seating will be available.

There will be games and activities for the kids, and a VHBT marketplace where you can purchase VHBT T-shirts, tote bags, happis and other goods. 

We will also have a Silent Auction for over 100 prizes such as Dodgers box seats, passes to Universal Studios, a Lenovo laptop, and much more. Please visit www.33auctions.com/20232023vhbtobon for more information. Bidding has already started.  

In addition, we will also have our traditional Opportunity Drawing with a $1,000 grand prize, a $500 second prize, a third prize of an iPad, and many other prizes. 

Come and escape the heat and enjoy the cool breezes in Venice, while dancing to both traditional and new dances, after dining on our tantalizing food offerings. For more information, call (310) 391-4351 or visit our temple website at https://vhbt.org.   

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