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Summer Bon Dance in Hawaii


It’s that time of year when the Summer Bon Dance in Hawaii takes place. Boy… I can’t wait to dress up for the bon dance celebration; it’s so much fun for both young and old. It always helps to remind me that the season has changed and summer is here once again. The Bon dance takes place almost everywhere you turn your head.

Summer Bon Dance in Hawaii

 Today is the first official day of summer! For Hawaii, though, summer started a few weeks ago with the onslaught of mangoes and lychees as well as the first bon dance of the season, last weekend at the Ewa Hongwanji. Bon Dance is the Japanese Buddhist equivalent of Mexico’s Dia de los Muertos, a time to honor the deceased. And just like Dia de los Muertos, where there are festivities, there is food.

Here’s the 2012 bon dance schedule, compiled by HAWAII Magazine, with notes on some favorite bon dance eats by Donna Nakasue, dance leader and member of the Young Okinawans of Hawaii.

What are your favorite bon dance eats? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

• June 16 (Sat.): Ewa Hongwanji, 7 p.m., following 6 p.m. service (677-4221)

• June 22-23 (Fri. and Sat.): Wahiawa Hongwanji, 7 p.m., following 6 p.m. service (622-4320)

• June 29-30 (Fri. and Sat.): Honpa Hongwanji Hawaii Betsuin, following 6:15 p.m. service (536-7044)
Recommended: corn on the cob.

Summer Bon Dance in Hawaii

• July 6-7 (Fri. and Sat.): Moiliili Hongwanji, 6 p.m. (949-1659)
This year, Moiliili is going all out to celebrate the obon and summer season. July 6 is the Moiliili Hongwanji bon dance with the usual bon dance eats of BBQ sticks and chili, as well as manju. On July 7 is the Moiliili Summer Festival, from 3:30 to 10:30 p.m, with Japanese street food, food trucks, taiko drum performances, a historic Moiliili exhibit and more. The festivities take place across from Puck’s Alley at 1110 University Avenue.

• July 6-7 (Fri./Sat): Haleiwa Jodo Mission, 8 p.m. (637-4382)

• July 7 (Sat.): Kaneohe Higashi Hongwanji, following 6 p.m. service (247-2661)

• July 13-14 (Fri./Sat.): Koboji Shingon Mission, 7 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. (841-7033)

• July 13-14 (Fri./Sat.): Waipahu Hongwanji, 7 p.m. following 6 p.m. service (677-4221)
Recommended: BBQ sticks. They also offer shave ice and kalua pig sliders.

• July 13-14 (Fri./Sat.): Haleiwa Shingon Mission,  7:30 p.m. (637-4423)

• July 13-14 (Fri./Sat.):  Rissho Kosei-kai Hawaii Kyokai, 6 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. (455-3212)
This is Nakasue’s favorite: “Some of their popular items include oden and grilled mochi. They also have items such as garlic french fries which are quite good. In addition, they have shave ice to refresh dancers.”Summer in Hawaii

• July 20-21 (Fri./Sat.): Shinshu Kyokai Mission, 7:30 p.m. – 10 p.m. (973-0150)

• July 20-21 (Fri./Sat.): Jikoen Hongwanji Buddhist Temple, 6:30 p.m. (845-3422)

• July 20-21 (Fri./Sat.): Wahiawa Ryusenji Soto Mission, 7:30 p.m. (622-1429)
Not mentioned by Nakasue, but this temple offers quite a few dishes: kalua cabbage, spare ribs, chicken adobo, stew and rice, chow fun, saimin, BBQ sticks, mochi with toppings, andagi and shave ice.

• July 21 (Sat.): Waianae Hongwanji, 7 p.m. (677-4221)

• July 21 (Sat.): Kailua Hongwanji, 7 p.m. (262-4560)

• July 27-28 (Fri./Sat.): Higashi Hongwanji Hawaii Betsuin, 7 p.m. (531-9088)

• July 27-28 (Fri./Sat.): Pacific Beach Hotel Natsu Matsuri, 5:30 p.m. – 9 p.m. (921-6190)

• Aug. 3-4 (Fri./Sat.): Palolo Hongwanji, 7 p.m. (732-1491)

• Aug. 3-4 (Fri./Sat.): Manoa Koganji, 5:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. (988-4905)

• Aug. 3-4 (Fri./Sat.): Waipahu Soto Zen Temple Taiyoji, 7 p.m. (671-3103)

• Aug. 3-4 (Fri./Sat.): Pacific Beach Hotel Natsu Matsuri, 5:30 p.m. – 9 p.m. (921-6190)

• Aug. 4 (Sat.): Wailua Hongwaji, 7 p.m. following 6 p.m. service (637-4395)

• Aug. 4 (Sat.): Princess Kaiulani Hotel Obon Festival. For more information, click here.

• Aug. 10-11 (Fri./Sat.): Shingon Shu Hawaii, 7 p.m. following 6:30 p.m. service (941-5663)

• Aug. 10-11 (Fri./Sat.): Pearl City Hongwanji, 7:30 p.m. following 6:15 p.m. service (455-1680)
Here, there’s a “bazaar” that sells “baked goods and pickled vegetables made by members to take home or enjoy with your plate lunch,” Nakasue says.

• Aug. 10-11 (Fri./Sat.): Soto Mission of Aiea-Taiheiji, 7 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. (808-488-6794)

• Aug. 10-11 (Fri./Sat.): Pacific Beach Hotel Natsu Matsuri, 5:30 p.m. – 9 p.m. (808-921-6190)

• Aug. 17-18 (Fri./Sat.): Jodo Mission of Hawaii,  7:30 p.m. (808-949-3995)

• Aug. 17-18 (Fri./Sat.): Mililani Hongwanji, 7 p.m. (808-625-0925)

• Aug. 17-18 (Fri./Sat.): Soto Mission of Hawaii Shoboji, 7:30 p.m. (808-537-9409)Food and Fun at the Summer Bon Dance in Hawaii

• Aug. 24 (Fri.): Oahu Care Facility, 6 p.m. (808-973-1900)

• Aug. 25 (Sat.): Aiea Hongwanji, 7 p.m. following 6 p.m. service (808-487-2626)

• Aug. 25 (Sat.) Nichiren Mission of Hawaii, 5:30 p.m. (808-595-3517)

• Aug. 25 (Sat.) Kapahulu Senior Center, 6 p.m. (808-737-1748)

• Sept. 1 (Sat.): Okinawan Festival, 5:30 p.m. – 9 p.m. (808-676-5400)
This huge and popular festival has lots of Okinawan eats: andamisu, a goopy miso and pork sauce; Okinawan soba; pig’s feet soup; shoyu pork; andadogs, in which andagi meets corn dogs

• Sept. 15 (Sat.): Autumn Okinawa Dance Festival at Hawaii Okinawa Center, 5:30 p.m. – 10 p.m. (808-676-5400)

 So I hope you looked over the many dates and times of each location and have marked your calendar for this great event, the Summer Bon Dance in Hawaii…

~~Aloha Nui Loa


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