Soto Zen Bon Festival

August 3-4, 2018

The Soto Zen Bon celebration takes place on the spacious grounds of the Soto Zen Temple, located on the sunny, westside of the island in Hanapepe, "Kauai's Biggest, Little Town."

The festival brings out the best of an old tradition. For over five generations, the Japanese-American folk culture and its Buddhist religious traditions have evolved in Hawaii. The festival includes traditional Japanese folk dancing around a yagura (raised platform) with distinctive music and live performances of singing and taiko (drums). Dancers dress in traditional kimonos or the less formal happi coats. Everyone is welcomed to join the circle of dancers. An "old-style" feel has been "religiously" preserved, yet there is a very relaxed, island-style character to this celebration.

The festival honors and remembers ancestors whose spirits return, guided by colorful chochins (lanterns) and join in the dancing as well. Over 400 colorful lanterns decorate the temple grounds. Food is also an integral part of the cultural experience, including: flying saucers - a festival favorite, similar to a pita pocket Sloppy Joe sandwich grilled and cooked into a shape with a pie iron; pronto pup - a hot dog dipped in a tasty pancake-like batter and deep fried; andagi - a sweet, deep fried buns of dough, like doughnuts. The more traditional fare includes mochi, yakitori (chicken) and teriyaki beef, and saimin.

Bon is the time of the year when people remember and honor their ancestors, reassert family ties and return to their hometowns. It's a joyous occasion when friends and families get together. This is the spirit of Bon and it carries a universal theme.

Kauai Buddhist Council

Plan Your Trip

Book Your Vacation

Book Your Vacation

Plan your own idyllic getaway with the Hawaii travel experts. Our partner, Pleasant Holidays, has created unforgettable vacations to the Hawaiian Islands for more than half a century, and can help you with all your travel arrangements.

Book now

Book Your Activities

Experience Your Hawaii

Enhance your vacation with activities and experience the very best of the islands. From helicopter flights to snorkeling adventures, from luaus to eco-tours, Pleasant Activities has hundreds of engaging activities that will catch your fancy.

Book now!

Follow Us

@thisweekhawaii

Follow Hawaii's #1 visitor guide magazine for the latest happenings! Hashtag #thisweekhawaii to be featured on our page!

Follow Us On Instagram Follow Us On Facebook