Thursday, June 29, 2017 This Week's Paper

Bon Odori returns

// Summer festival celebrates Japanese culture

The Tacoma Buddhist Temple’s annual Bon Odori summer festival returns July 30 with an evening celebrating Japanese culture and cuisine.

From 5-9 p.m., the public is welcome to visit the temple to enjoy authentic Japanese food ranging from chicken teriyaki bowls to somen noodles and Japanese snow cones. This year’s festival also features a beer garden offering Wingman Brewer’s craft beer and cold sake.

The first-ever Tacoma Buddhist Temple obon song and dance group will also make their debut performance during the festival. All music, lyrics and dance numbers were developed by Fuji Taiko and temple members.

“This festival provides a great way for the public to understand the richness of the Japanese culture,” said Crystal Inge, co-chair of the Bon Odori festival.

The celebration will also include dancers dressed in summer kimonos and performing to traditional Japanese music. Two taiko drumming clubs are slated to perform during the festival, as well.

Following the dance performances, a memorial candle lighting ceremony in honor of friends and family who have passed away will take place in the temple gardens.

For many years, Bon Odori has been an important, traditional summer festival to honor and express gratitude toward friends and family members who have passed on. Considering the earthquake and tsunamis that hit Japan last March, this year’s festival will no doubt hold special meaning.

Students from Tacoma’s sister city in Japan, Kitakyushu, now studying at Tacoma Community College, are slated to perform and volunteer at the event, as well.

“This is a great event to introduce the public to the Japanese and Buddhist cultures,” Inge said. “It’s important for the community to understand the heritage of the Tacoma Buddhist Temple as part of Tacoma’s history.”

The Tacoma Buddhist Temple has played an active role in the community since before the 1920s. The temple itself has since been designated as a historical landmark, and enjoys its relationship with the Tacoma community.

“The temple really appreciates being supported by the surrounding communities in Tacoma and beyond,” Inge said. “We look forward to maintaining our presence as a religious and cultural center and strong partner in the Tacoma community.”

The Tacoma Buddhist Temple is located at 1717 Fawcett St. For more information, visit