Obon Festival

Obon Festival is a Japanese Buddhist festival to honor the spirits of one’s ancestors. There were a number of celebrations throughout the Bay Area this year, so we decided to check out a couple.

The Alameda County Buddhist temple in Union City holds a small Bazaar, so not a full on festival (as it’s fairly small), but it still offers food, fair games, a taiko show, and a little market place; where if you’re really lucky, you might just find a kimono piece in your size.

The bigger annual celebrations would be in either Japantown of San Francisco or San Jose. We happened to be the South side of the Bay for that weekend, so we wound up in the sweltering heat of San Jose. Not that the heat hindered the crowds, nor the amount of people willing to put on kimonos and participate in the Odori, a parading dance around the main street. There was a large area for the fair games (including a giant bingo tent) and plenty of food stalls where you could order teriyaki, grilled corn, sushi, ramen, and even my favorite: dorayaki, a red bean pancake made fresh off the griddle.

Obon Festival is typically in July, so if you’re near a Japantown during the month, keep your eyes out for this beautiful festival!


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