Obon Festival Japantown, San Jose – Summer 2010

Saturday & Sunday – July 10 & 11, 2010 •  This weekend, today!  Odori Dancing to still happen tonight, Sunday @ 6pm in SJ Japantown.

The Obon Festival in Japantown, San Jose is run by about four thousand volunteers from the community and the San Jose Buddhist Temple.   The Obon festival is a Japanese Buddhist custom to honor the departed (deceased) spirits of one’s ancestors.  The volunteers work for days preparing the food such as:

  • Beef Teriyaki ($1.50 per kabob)
  • Chicken Teriyaki (Large Pieces of Chicken $4)
  • Nigiri Sushi ($5-6)
  • Vegetable Tempura ($5)
  • Bubble Tea ($4)
  • Imagawa Yaki (dessert) ($2.50 for 2)
  • Manju (dessert)
  • Also try: Corn on the Cob, Strawberry Shortcake, Chicken Salad w/ Ramen & Cabbage & Sake or Beer (These have become other festival favorites at Obon SJ.)

What I liked about this festival was that the food was affordable and in-tune with the culture.  We walked around sampling many different tasty bites.  I saw lots of folks stopping by and buying large quantities of chicken teriyaki and beef teriyaki to take home for their families.  The take-out told me that the food is known for being good and that people have made it a tradition to stop by and pick it up each year.  After the lunchtime rush, the lines got shorter and there were plenty of places to sit and enjoy your food both inside and outside.  Out in the sun we saw Taiko drummers perform and we could have even taped down our blanket to save a spot for the Bon Odori dancing that started later in the evening.

Get there early and get a parking spot.  Some lots were $2 for all day.  Otherwise you will drive around for an extended period to find a decent place to park.

More information from past: Yelpers

More San Jose Obon Festival Photographs: Flickr

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