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Ultimate Guide to Obon Festivals on Oahu: 2024

bon dance

The 2024 Obon season is officially underway and will run through September! The Obon festival, a captivating Japanese Buddhist celebration, has become an integral part of Hawaii's cultural tapestry. It is a time when communities gather to honor ancestors, enjoy traditional music and dance, and create lasting memories.

If you're a Hawaii resident or visitor eager to dive into this enchanting event, we have you covered with our ultimate guide to Obon Festivals in 2024. From essential tips for beginners to a comprehensive schedule of Obon dances on Oahu, you won't miss a beat.

bon dance

What is Obon and Bon Dancing?

Obon is a Japanese Buddhist custom that commemorates one's ancestors. According to Buddhist belief, during this time, ancestral spirits return to visit their families. The festival features lively Bon dancing, which expresses gratitude and welcomes the spirits. Dancers, clad in colorful yukatas (traditional summer kimonos) gracefully move to the rhythm of taiko drums and other traditional instruments.

bon dance

Tips for Beginners

If you're new to the Obon Festival, here are some tips to help you make the most of this unique cultural experience:

Dress the Part

Embrace the spirit of Obon by wearing a yukata or comfortable clothing. Many shops in Hawaii offer rentals, so you can dress authentically.

Join the Workshops

Before the festival, workshops are often held to teach the basics of Bon dancing. Participating in these workshops will boost your confidence and make the actual event more enjoyable.

Explore the Food Stalls

Indulge in delicious Japanese cuisine at festival food stalls. From mouthwatering yakisoba to savory takoyaki, there's a wide array of culinary delights to satisfy your taste buds.

Respectful Observance

Obon is a deeply meaningful event for many people. Show respect by observing the rituals and customs, such as bowing before and after dancing.

Schedule of Obon Dances on Oahu in 2024

 

Fri., June 28 & Sat., June 29 | 6 to 10:30 p.m.

Hawaii Betsuin

1727 Pali Highway, Honolulu | 808-536-7044 | hawaiibetsuin.org | @hawaiibetsuin

Sat., July 6 | 5 p.m.

11th Annual Mōʻiliʻili Summer Fest

1100 University Ave., Honolulu | moiliilisummerfesthi.com | @moiliilifest

Fri., July 12 & Sat., July 13 | 6 to 9 p.m.

Rissho Kosei-kai Buddhist Church of Hawaii

2280 Auhuhu St., Pearl City | 808-455-3212 | rkhawaii.org | @rkkhawaii

Fri., July 12 & Sat., July 13 | 6:30 to 10:30 p.m.

Koboji Shingon Mission

1223-B North School St., Honolulu | 808-841-7033 | koboji.org | @kobojishingonmission

Fri., July 12 & Sat., July 13 | 7 to 10 p.m.

Higashi Hongwanji Mission of Hawai‘i

1685 Alaneo St., Honolulu | 808-531-9088 | betsuin.hhbt-hi.org | @higashihongwanjihawaii

Sat., July 13 | 6 to 10 p.m.

Windward Buddhist Temple

268A Ku‘ulei Road, Kailua | windwardbuddhisttemple.org | @windwardbuddhisttemple

Sat., July 13 | 7 p.m.

Waipahu Hongwanji

94-821 Kuhaulua St., Waipahu | 808-671-3103 | waipahuhongwanji.org | @waipahutemplesangha

Fri., July 19 & Sat., July 20 | 7 to 10 p.m.

Wahiawā Ryusenji-Soto Mission

164 California Ave., Wahiawa | 808-622-1429

Fri., July 19 & Sat., July 20 | 7 to 10 p.m.

Shinshu Kyokai Mission

1631 S. Beretania St., Honolulu | 808-973-0150 | shinshukyokai.org

Sat., July 20 | 5 p.m.

Jikoen Hongwanji Buddhist Temple

1731 N. School St., Honolulu | 808-845-3422 | jikoenhongwanji.org

Sat., July 20

Wai‘anae Hongwanji Mission

85-762 Old Government Rd, Wai‘anae | 808-677-4221

Fri., July 26 & Sat., July 27 | 7 p.m.

Hale‘iwa Jodo Mission

66-279 Hale‘iwa Road A, Hale‘iwa | 808-637-4382 | hawaiijodo.net

Fri., July 26 & Sat., July 27 | 5 to 10 p.m.

Palolo Hongwanji

1641 Palolo Ave., Honolulu | 808-732-1491

Sat., Aug. 2 & Sun., Aug. 3 | 7 to 10 p.m.

Waipahu Soto Zen Temple Taiyoji

94-413 Waipahu St., Waipahu | 808-671-3103 | sotozen.com

Fri., Aug. 9 & Sat., Aug. 10 | TBD

Shingon Mission of Hawai‘i

915 Sheridan St. | 808-941-5663 | shingonshuhawaii.com

Fri., Aug. 9 & Sat., Aug. 10 | 6 to 10 p.m.

Soto Mission of Aiea–Taiheiji

99-045 Kauhale St., Aiea | 808-488-6794 | sotomission.com | @aieataiheiji

Sat., Aug. 10 | 7 to 10 p.m.

Pearl City Hongwanji Mission

858 2nd St., Pearl City | 808-455-1680 | pearlcityhongwanji.com

Fri., Aug. 16 & Sat., Aug. 17 | 7 p.m.

Mililani Hongwanji

95-257 Kaloapau St., Mililani | 808-625-0925

Sat., Aug. 17 | 5 p.m

Jodo Mission of Hawai‘i

1429 Makiki St., Honolulu | 808-949-3995 | jodo.us

Sat., Aug. 24 | 7 p.m

Aiea Hongwanji

99-186 Puakala St., Aiea | 808-487-2626 | aieahongwanji.org

Sat., Aug. 31 | 5:30 to 9 p.m.

Okinawan Festival at Hawaii Convention Center 

1801 Kalākaua Ave., Honolulu | 808-676-5400 | okinawanfestival.com | @okinawanfestival

Sat., Sept. 7 | 5 to 9 p.m.

Megabon at Aloha Stadium’s Lower Halawa Lot

99-500 Salt Lake Blvd. | megabonhawaii.com | @megabonhawaii

Sat., Sept. 21 | TBD

Autumn Okinawan Dance Matsuri at Hawai‘i Okinawa Center

94-587 Uke‘e St., Waipahu | 808-676-5400 | huoa.org

Wed., Sept. 25 | TBD

Pearl Country Club

98-535 Kaonohi St. | 808-487-2460 | pearlatkalauao.com

 

Times and dates are subject to change.

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