Philadelphia’s 5th Annual Obon celebration is this Sunday, and we’re excited for what promises to be our biggest festival yet. This year’s festivities will take place from 11 am – 4 pm outside the gates of Shofuso Japanese House and Garden. Activities include bon-odori, the eponymous dances, taiko drumming by Kyo Daiko, tea ceremony demonstrations by Urasenke Philadelphia, traditional games, and arts & crafts, all of which are free and open to the public. We will also host a Japanese flea market and gift shop with vendors selling traditional goods, Poi Dog will sell Hawaiian fare, and Shofuso will be open for visitation.
In anticipation of what promises to be a beautiful day, we’ve compiled a list of things to do in order to get the most out of the festival. Check out our list below:
1. Bring Water and Sunscreen, And Pack a Picnic
Obon is an all-day outdoor event, and will be held in the area immediately outside of Shofuso’s gates. Although Poi Dog will be selling bottles of water and plenty of food, it’s always good to bring a bottle of water and sunscreen to stay hydrated and avoid sunburn.
Fairmount Park is a beautiful place to picnic, and we also invite you and your family to bring your own picnic lunch.
2. Find Free Parking
Shofuso offers free on-site parking, and there is a free lot across from the Horticultural Center. Additional free parking can be found along Lansdowne Ave & the Avenue of the Republic. The Please Touch Museum also offers parking for $12 per car.
3. Show Off Your Fashion and Come Ready To Dance
If you own traditional Japanese clothing, including a yukata (casual summer kimono) or jinbei, you are welcome to wear them at Obon. We will be hosting a yukata fashion show throughout the day with headbands and bookmarks given out as prizes to participants who’ve created exemplary outfits.
There will also be opportunities throughout the day to participate in the traditional Obon dances, with a over ten different folk dances and songs from different regions in Japan.
4. Share on Social Media
Use the hashtag #phillyobon to share your favorite Obon Festival memories with family and friends on Twitter and Instagram, and use the Celebrate Obon Facebook frame and Snapchat geofilter to dress up your photos!
5. Discover Treasures in the Japanese Flea Market
In addition to offering family-friendly activities, Shofuso will host a Japanese flea market where visitors may purchase antique and vintage kimonos, clothing accessories, and various Japanese sundries. Cash is preferred, but vendors also accept credit and debit cards.
Bring Your Pet
Dogs are welcome in Fairmount Park and at the Obon Festival! Make sure they’re on leash. Only service dogs are allowed inside of Shofuso.
7. Visit Shofuso
Stop by Shofuso during the Obon Festival to tour the house, visit our garden, and feed our vivacious koi! It’s the perfect spot to visit with family and friends. Regular admission rates apply: $10 adults, $5 students, seniors, and youth, $2 ACCESS Card admission, and free to children 3 and under, active military with ID, and members of JASGP.