Above and below: Bon Odori participants followed the lead dancers.

The 65th annual Obon Carnival took place on July 8 and 9 at Zenshuji Soto Mission in L.A.’s Little Tokyo/Arts District.

Lanterns and origami cranes in the hall where Obon services were held.

An Obon service was held both days to honor departed loved ones.

Okinawan music by Gurukuns.

Food booths served barbecue chicken and beef, tamales, chirashi-sushi, somen, corn, and shaved ice. The carnival also included a white elephant sale and a raffle drawing.

The food booths did brisk business.

Cultural demonstrations and performances included tea ceremony, folk music by Matsumae Kai, Okinawan music by Gurukuns, drumming by Zendeko, Taiko Center of Los Angeles and Ryujin Taiko, Japanese classical dance by Bando Hidesomi Company, martial arts by Shorinji Kempo, Kawachi Ondo (Kansai Club), folk music and dance by the Ban Bon Dancers and Terminal Islanders, and Zen Aerobics.

Drumming by Zenshuji’s taiko group, Zendeko.

Bon Odori was held both days with dancers of all ages joining in. 

Many people attended both Zenshuji’s event and Nishi Hongwanji’s Obon Festival, which was held the same weekend on the other side of First Street.

Photos by J.K. YAMAMOTO/Rafu Shimpo (except where noted)

Shorinji Kempo demonstration (Courtesy Fusako Shiotani)

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