Third annual Obon in the Gardens this weekend

Summer begins and the season of obon arrives.

Obon is a Japanese festival during which the spirits of one’s ancestors are honored with visits to the cemetery, temple services and dances known as bon odori.


Friends of Lili‘uokalani Gardens brings the tradition of Obon in the Gardens back for a third year from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, June 1, in the parking lot next to the tea house at the gardens off Banyan Drive in Hilo.

This year, there is a concentration on prefectures from which Japanese came to Hawaii in the mid- and late 1800s. Many are represented by stone lanterns in Lili‘uokalani Gardens, some of which date from the centennial of Gannenmono in 1968.


Bon odori (dances) and a modified scavenger hunt will feature Fukushima, Kumamoto, Oshima, Tokyo and Yamaguchi. Inside the brochure is a map of the gardens with five blank spaces. Children ages 12 or younger who correctly identify those five stone lanterns will be eligible for a prize.

To learn more, see the Hawaii Island obon schedule printed on the Friends of Lili‘uokalani Gardens Facebook page, contact any Hongwanji temple or speak to members of the Hawaii Island Buddhist Federation.

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