Yesterday, I was able to visit one of the Bon Odori festivals going on this season in temples around Little Tokyo LA and the surrounding Japanese communities (Gardena, Torrance, Pasadena, etc.). Bon Odori (Bon dance) comes from a summer holiday called Obon, which the spirits of ancestors are supposed to revisit the household altars. Family gathers and at their local temples, Bon Odori festivals are held. People wear their yukatas and enjoy Bon Odori.
I went to the Higashi Honganji Bon Odori! There were food booths and a small section of game area. Although I missed it, there was a taiko performance and heard they were really good.
And at around 6:30 Bon Odori started- people surrounding the center taiko stage making circles. Many people were wearing happi!
Dancing to min’yo. Even if you don’t know how to dance, its pretty simple and you can just follow others.
Also at Little Tokyo, there will be a Nisei Week Grand Parade on Sunday August 12th. It is one of the big events! If you want to get more info on Japanese festivals going around SoCal visit http://www.japanese-city.com/