Know Before You Go: Philadelphia Obon Festival

The sixth annual Philadelphia Obon Festival comes to Shofuso this Saturday from 11 am – 5 pm. At the forefront are Bon folk dances led by IchiFuji-kai dance students, taiko drumming by Kyo Daiko, tea ceremony demonstrations by Urasenke Philadelphia, traditional games, kimono dressing, and arts & crafts, all of which are free and open to the public. Shofuso will also host a Japanese flea market and gift shop with vendors selling traditional and contemporary Japanese goods, including kimono and kanzashi. Three local food vendors will also join us: Poi Dog, Dre’s Water Ice & Ice Cream, and The Tot Cart, 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.

  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 vendors 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: Nearby free parking can be found in a lot across from the Fairmount Park Horticulture Center at 100 N. Horticultural Drive. Additional free parking can be found along Lansdowne Ave & the Avenue of the Republic. The Please Touch Museum also offers parking nearby for $12 per car.

  3. Show Off Your Japanese Fashion: If you own Japanese summer clothing, including yukata, jinbei, or even a happi coat, you are welcome to wear them at Obon! Volunteers will also staff a kimono dressing tent nearby the dance circle, where you can try on summer wear.
  4. Take Part in Summer Festival Fun: There will be opportunities throughout the day to participate in the traditional Obon dances, with ten different folk dances and songs from different regions in Japan. Visitors can also attend tea ceremony demonstrations lead by the Urasenke Tea School of Philadelphia, listen to three music sets by Kyo Daiko, and even take part in a traditional watermelon smashing!

  5. Share on Social Media: Follow Shofuso and JASGP online for live updates, and tag us in social media posts to have your memories spotlighted in a post-Obon wrap-up!Follow Shofuso on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
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  6. Shop The Japanese Flea Market: In addition to offering family-friendly activities, Shofuso will host a Japanese flea market where visitors may purchase kimonos, clothing accessories, and various Japanese sundries. Cash is preferred, but vendors also accept credit and debit cards.

  7. Bring A Pet: Dogs are welcome in Fairmount Park and at the Obon Festival! Make sure they’re on leash. Remember, only service dogs are allowed inside of Shofuso.

  8. Visit Shofuso: Summer days are a great time to visit Shofuso, and the house and garden will be open to regular visitors. Admission is $12 adults, $8 students, seniors, and youth 5-17, $2 ACCESS Card admission, and free to children 3 and under, active military with ID, and members of JASGP.

    We hope to see you at the Obon Festival this Saturday!

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