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Obon Festival

  • Japanese Friendship Garden 2215 Pan American Road East San Diego, CA, 92101 United States (map)

Join us this summer as the Japanese Friendship Garden (JFG) and Buddhist Temple of San Diego host the annual Obon Festival! We are proud to continue the tradition of celebrating the circle of life together, as done each summer in Japan for generations, and welcome everyone to join our celebration!

For two days, you will be able enjoy a variety of merchants, engage in family friendly activities, treat yourselves to Japanese festival foods, a beer garden, a tea & dessert garden, and experience cultural performances throughout each day!

Each festival day will also be highlighted with traditional Obon practices. On August 4th, you'll be able to make your own toro nagashi to either take home or send down the stream at the Japanese Friendship Garden. Lantern floating is scheduled to begin at 7:00 PM at the lower garden.

On August 5th, the festival extends out to the Organ Pavilion at 4:00 PM where everyone will be invited to participate in the Bon Odori dance. The Organ Pavilion will be decorated with paper lanterns, Japanese folk tunes and taiko will fill the air, and dance leaders in traditional kimono will guide participants into a large dance circle! See below for the program schedule. Please note that JFG's lower garden will be closed during this time.

JFG Admission

General admission ... $10
Students, military, seniors (65+) ... $8
Explorer or Go passes; children 6 y/o and under ... FREE

We are also still in need of volunteers in preparation for and on the days of the festival! Make friends, experience this exciting cultural event, and knock out your community service hours all in one go. Click on the button below to find out more information and sign up today!

Vendors attending this year's festival!

Kids' Corner & Lantern Making

The Kids' Corner will be located at the lower garden courtyard from noon to 4:00 PM on both days of the festival! For $3.00, kids will be able to enjoy various crafts that include making their own paper windmill and animal finger puppets as well as decorating their own Japanese fan and paper block house! 

DIY paper lanterns and premade paper lanterns will be available for sale on August 4th at the Inamori Pavilion where the Tea & Dessert garden is located. Lantern making will be available from 10:00 AM - 7:00 PM or until supplies last! Paper lanterns can be brought home, left floating in the pond or on the sides of the stream as decoration, or be sent down the stream as part of Toro Nagashi. Toro Nagashi will begin at 7:00 PM on August 4th only! 

- Tea & Dessert only ... $5
- DIY lantern kit only ... $5
- Premade lantern only ... $10
- Tea & Dessert + DIY lantern kit ... $9

Photos of the fun and festivities at last year's Obon Festival by
Yasuhiro Fujiki & Dominic Nepomuceno!

Earlier Event: July 21
Yokai Omatsuri
Later Event: August 14
Taiko Summer Camp