VNCS :: ビクトリア日系文化協会

The Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society – Celebrating Japanese-Canadian Culture

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2012 Obon Matsuri – Sunday, August 12th

2012 Obon Matsuri

2nd Annual Obon Festival @ Ross Bay Cemetery & Ross Bay Villa
Sunday, August 12th, 2012
12:30pm – Grave Washing
2:00pm – Obon Buddhist Service
3:45pm – Matsuri
Cost: FREE

Hosted by the Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society and the Japanese Friendship Society with support from The Old Cemetery Society – we invite you to come and participate with us in honouring those who have gone before.

12:30 – Cleaning of Gravestones – Ross Bay Cemetery

At 12:30 pm we will begin the task of cleaning and washing the gravestones of 152 people of Japanese descent buried in Ross Bay Cemetery; we will also lay flowers in their honour.

Please volunteer to clean and wash the stones – if possible, bring gloves, buckets and cloths.

Donations of flowers are always welcomed.

The graves that we tend are those of early immigrants to Vancouver Island many of whose families were moved from the coast during World War II and who generally did not return to Victoria afterwards. Unfortunately most of the graves fell into disrepair until the 1980’s when much work was done to identify all of the Japanese graves and to install gravestones for those that did not have a marker. As well, a memorial stone was installed nearby– the Kakehashi Stone. From this came a tradition that members of the current Nikkei community would care for the stones during Obon (a traditional reunion held in the summer during which time people would return to ancestral family places to visit and clean the graves of ancestors).

2011 Obon - washing the stoneTsugio Kurushima and Grace Yuki Mercer wash a stone together

2:30pm – Obon Ceremony – Kakehashi Stone located in Ross Bay Cemetery

At 2:30 pm you are invited to attend the Obon ceremony that will be given by Reverend Grant Ikuta, resident minister for the Steveston Buddhist Temple and Bishop of the Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Temples of Canada.

After this remembrance there will be a social gathering on the grounds of the Ross Bay Villa.

3:45 pm – Social Gathering – Ross Bay Villa, 1490 Fairfield Road, Victoria, B.C.

At 3:45 pm, at Ross Bay Villa, light refreshments will be provided along with entertainment including Bon-Odori dances by the Furusato Dancers and inter-active games. **NOTE: Uminari Taiko will not be preforming this year as they will be at the regional Taiko conference in Portland, Oregon.**

We look forward to meeting you and if you wish, please wear yukata!

2010 Obon - Furusato DancersFurusato Dancers performing at the matsuri
2010 Obon - Suika WariSuika Wari – Watermellon Smashing


We require assistance in making this event memorable and especially as there are 2 separate sites – please look at the list below and if you are able to volunteer for any task please contact:
Cristina Shore at or
Debbie Ibaraki at

PRIOR DAY– date TBA Trim Grass around gravestones Time TBA Ross Bay Cemetery
SUNDAY, AUG 12/12 Set-Up Crew 12 NOON Ross Bay Cemetery
Take-Down Crew 3:15 PM Ross Bay Cemetery
SUNDAY, AUG 12/12 Set-Up Crew 12 NOON Ross Bay Villa
Take-Down Crew 5:00 PM Ross Bay Villa
Gate Greeters/Security 2:00 PM Ross Bay Villa
Food Tables Crew 1:30 PM Ross Bay Villa
Beverage/Food Pick-up 12 NOON Vehicle Needed

We look forward to seeing you!

Category: Obon Matsuri