San Fernando Valley Hongwanji Buddhist Temple ( SFVHBT) Obon Festival Event is one the largest and longest running festivals of its kind in the San Fernando Valley. SFVHBT recently celebrated its 100th anniversary in April 2022.
The SFVHBT Obon Festival Event is held at the San Fernando Valley Japanese American Community Center: 12953 Branford Street, Pacoima, CA 91331
Every year the festival draws thousands of visitors from all across Southern California to its booths to enjoy savory ethnic delights such as Chicken Teriyaki, Chinese Chicken Salad, Chirashi, Sushi, Spam Musubi, Cha Shu Bao, Shu Mai, Beef Teriyaki, Udon, and Somen. It features family-friendly games as well as displays of Bonsai, Calligraphy, and Japanese Dolls. Try your luck at our $1,000 Raffle or the lively Bingo Game in air-conditioned Sakaguchi Hall, which also hosts the temple bookstore and Japanese Flea Market. From beautiful kimono and yukata to traditional toys, dishes, and knick-knacks visit the flea market early as available items move fast. Visit the gym and dojo to watch our talented SFV Japanese American Community Center Clubs perform, and then head to the yagura for taiko and Obon dancing.
The festival begins with taiko drummers drawing people to the festivities with their loud, enthusiastic, and boisterous performance. This is followed by hundreds of kimono, yukata, and happi coat clad dancers moving to the rhythms and melodies of both traditional and modern Japanese music, all to celebrate the Buddhist “Festival of Joy,” started centuries ago as a religious custom to remember and express gratitude to deceased loved ones.
For many people of Japanese ancestry who can trace their roots back to the San Fernando Valley, the summer would not be the summer without the SFVHBT Obon Festival. It is a tradition. It is friends and families gathering to enjoy each other’s company. It is neighbors getting to know each other. It is strangers getting acquainted and becoming friends. It is numerous community organizations and their leaders coming together and working cooperatively to ensure a meaningful experience for all. It is a community.
So mark your calendars, dust off your kachi-kachi, tenugui, and your uchiwa; rustle up your yukata and get ready to eat, dance, and play the night away. While you’re at it, invite your friends, neighbors, and co-workers too! Everyone will appreciate the opportunity to share in the cultural experience and perpetuate the long-standing tradition that is Obon. We look forward to seeing everyone there!
Bon Odori begins at 7:00pm on Sat 6/24 and 6:30 pm on Sun 6/25
Saturday, June 24th hours: 4:30pm-10:00pm
Sunday, June 25th hours: 4:30pm-9:00pm