Above and below: Bon Odori included fan favorites such as “Ei Ja Nai Ka,” “One Plus One,” “Hokkai no Abarembo” and “Tanko Bushi.”

Venice Hongwanji Buddhist Temple in Culver City held their Obon Festival on July 15-16 with massive crowds. 

Food booth volunteers worked hard to feed the crowds.

The year’s festival welcomed back Venice’s famous udon and andagi (aka Okinawa dango), and introduced a Beer Garden, featuring Brewyard Brewery beers. 

The menu included Venice’s famous udon. (Courtesy VHBT)

Guests were treated to delicious food, fun and games, a silent auction and opportunity drawing, and the chance to purchase Dustin Noriyuki-designed Obon T-shirts and other merchandise. 

Rev. Kory Quan welcomed and thanked the participants. (Courtesy VHBT)

As usual, the highlight of the weekend was Bon Odori on both nights, as instructors Judy Hopfield and Julia Ueda led nearly 1,000 dancers from Venice Hongwanji and many friends from temples and community organizations across Southern California and beyond. 

Claire Imada was among the guest taiko drummers during Bon Odori.

In addition to udon and andagi, food offerings included Chef Chris Ono-prepared chicken teriyaki, wonton, hot dogs, chili rice, chicken salad from Feast from the East, sushi, and shave ice and kintoki prepared by our middle-schoolers (Sangha Teens).

Kids enjoyed a variety of games.

We express our gratitude who those came to support the temple, and to our many volunteers (ranging from ages 5 to 90+) for making this possible. 

The VHBT marketplace sold T-shirts, tote bags, happi coats and other goods.

The theme for this year’s Obon was #Kangi-E #GatheringofJoy. Everyone is invited to join once again on July 20-21 for the 2024 Venice Hongwanji Obon Festival.

Dianne Kujubu Belli served as emcee during Bon Odori.

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

VHBT members wore red and white happi coats.


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *