2022 Obon Grave Washing, Sunday, August 14th at Ross Bay Cemetery

OBON 2022 in Victoria – SUNDAY, AUGUST 14, 2022

ROSS BAY CEMETERY – 1495 Fairfield Road, Victoria, B.C.

Ross Bay Cemetery Map showing Japanese Grave clusters.

Summer has arrived! And in this very busy season, we will be gathering to mark Obon and look forward to your participation in the day’s activities.

The Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society and The Japanese Friendship Society have come together to host this event and highlight the following activities and times in historic Ross Bay Cemetery:< LOCATION: ROSS BAY CEMETERY – Kakehashi Stone and surrounding area<

  • 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM (noon) – Grave Headstone washing of 152 graves of pioneers of Japanese descent and placement of flowers on these gravestones. Your assistance with this task is greatly appreciated.
  • 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM – Heritage Walk of Japanese Pioneer Graves
  • 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM – Buddhist Obon Ceremony at Kakehashi Stone The ceremony will be presided by Reverend Grant Ikuta, resident minister for the Steveston Buddhist Temple and Bishop of the Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Temples of Canada.

Following the Ceremony, light refreshments will be served – Please join us as we welcome travellers from the Steveston area to the Ross Bay Cemetery joining our Obon observance.

 

VOLUNTEER HELP – As well as the help needed for the Grave Headstone washing, we would appreciate some EXTRA assistance in the setting up and taking down of tents, chairs, tables, signage, decorations, and food services. If you are able to assist with any of these tasks, please contact us – thank you.

 

Flower Donations – We appreciate the donation of flowers for both the laying on the gravestones and for the Kakehashi Stone.

 

2022 marks the 80th anniversary of the internment and displacement of citizens of Japanese descent from the west coast of British Columbia after which many people did not return to their former homes. This includes former Japanese Canadian residents of the greater Victoria area and because of this, the pioneer graves fell into disrepair. In this year, we remember not only the pioneers, their descendants and community, but also the small group that came together about thirty years ago to bring about repairs or to replace individual headstones and to raise the Kakehashi Stone in Ross Bay Cemetery.

 

We look forward to meeting you and your family. Please come, wear your Yukata, and share in the friendship at this unique event.

 

Proudly Supported By
Obon-Logos

2021 Obon Grave Washing a huge success!

Volunteers at the 2021 Grave Washing.

Thank you so much to all of the wonderful volunteers who were able to come and make this year’s grave washing an amazing success. Although the forecast was for quite warm weather, as is typical at Ross Bay Cemetery, it was quite windy and cool. We had a great group of around 25 volunteers clean all of the graves of early the Japanese pioneers and Japanese-Canadians buried there. In addition so many flowers were donated that we even had some left over. Arigatou gozaimashita!

2021 Obon Grave Washing at Ross Bay Cemetery

DATE: Sunday, August 15, 2021

TIME:  9:00 AM – 12:00 PM– Washing of Headstones/Graves

LOCATION:   Ross Bay Cemetery, 1495 Fairfield Road, Victoria – Kakehashi Stone area

Ross Bay Cemetery Map showing Japanese Grave clusters and the Kakehashi Stone.

Summer 2021 has been busy for so many of us, with many COVID-19 restrictions being lifted or modified in Phase 3 of the BC Restart Plan. Our annual gathering for Obon has been affected again this year but we look forward to your continued support of this event.
The VNCS and The Japanese Friendship Society have joined this year to co-host this Obon event.

  • Buddhist Service & social gathering – The Buddhist service at the Kakehashi Stone as well as the social gathering that usually follows have been cancelled
  • Flowers – Donations of flowers for placement at the Kakehashi Stone and gravesides are appreciated. (These will be placed at the time of cleaning.)
  • Washing of Grave Headstones – We are looking for volunteers to assist with washing the headstones of the 152 graves of pioneers of Japanese descent. This task will take place in the morning as we hope it will be a more temperate time of the day.

For volunteers/participants:

  • Face Masks – Review the BC Restart Plan website for guidelines regarding your personal circumstance/choice about wearing a face-mask. Hand sanitizer and masks will be available at the site.
  • Gloves – Disposable gloves will be available. You are also welcome to bring your own work gloves.
  • Cleaning Equipment – Pails, brushes, and hoses will be provided.
  • Refreshments – Bottled water will be provided. No food will be provided.
  • Seating – Seating will be very limited. (Some benches may be available.)
  • Parking – New sidewalks have been installed along the Memorial Crescent side of the cemetery. Please take note of new signs regarding residential parking.

Please do not attend if you or anyone in your group:

  • has had symptoms of COVID-19 in the 14 days prior to this event
  • is under the direction of the Provincial Health Officer to self-isolate
  • has arrived from outside of Canada and is still in the 14-day quarantine period

We look forward to welcoming you on this day – the first time in a year as a community!  If you have any questions, please email us.

2020 Obon Grave Washing – THANK YOU!

Volunteers at the 2020 Grave Washing.

Thank you so much to all of the wonderful volunteers who were able to come and make this year’s grave washing an amazing success. We had a great group of around 20 volunteers clean all of the graves of early the Japanese pioneers and Japanese-Canadians buried there. In addition so many flowers were donated that we even had some left over. Arigatou gozaimashita!

2018 Obon Grave Washing – Sunday, August 19th (10am start this year!)

Obon Grave Washing (2018)

Cost: FREE

ALL ARE WELCOME

Kakehashi (Bridge) Stone

Schedule

10:00am – Grave Washing (meet at the Kakehashi Stone)
12:30pm – Picnic Lunch (bring your own bento)
2:30pm – Obon Buddhist Service

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

Ross Bay Cemetery Map showing Japanese Grave clusters.

10:00am – Grave Washing

2013 Grave Washing
2013 Grave Washing

Everyone meet at the Kakehashi Stone at 10:00am (donations of flowers are welcome, please bring at this time) and then cleaning teams will be assembled to proceed with:

  • Cleaning of gravestones
  • Laying flowers and toys for children’s graves
  • Preparing the Kakehashi Stone

12:30 pm – Picnic Lunch

After the grave washing is complete we invite all to stay for a picnic lunch. Please bring your own bento and the VNCS will provide light snacks, tea and water. This will be a time for folks to get to know each other better.

2:30 pm – Obon Service

Obon Service 2011
Obon Service 2011

Obon service led by Reverend Grant Ikuta, Resident Minister of the Steveston Buddhist Temple and Bishop of the Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Temples of Canada

Hope to see you there!

Ross Bay Cemetery map – http://www.oldcem.bc.ca/brochurerbc.pdf
Ross Bay Cemetery website – http://www.oldcem.bc.ca/cem_rb.htm

What is Obon?

Obon is a Japanese Buddhist custom to honour the spirit’s of one’s ancestors. This Buddhist-Confucian custom has evolved into a family reunion holiday during which people return to ancestral family places and visit and clean their graves. It is when the spirits of ancestors are supposed to revisit the household altars. It has been celebrated in Japan for more than 500 years and traditionally includes a dance, known as Bon-Odori.” – from Wikipedia

This is a time for us to get in touch with our past, expressing our true joy and gratitude to not only our immediate ancestors, but to all past causes and conditions that have allowed us to be here today. It is the ultimate recognition and celebration of the oneness of life that has existed in the past and that we continue to be a part of today.

Japanese-Canadian Graves at Ross Bay Cemetery

The Japanese-Canadian community in Victoria was exiled by the Canadian Government during the Pacific War (WWII) and very few ever returned. Therefore, there are no descendants to care for the graves in Ross Bay Cemetery. The VNCS and Victoria Japanese Friendship Society are pleased to continue the work of the Kakehashi (Bridge Building) Project along with the Old Cemeteries Society in caring for the Japanese graves. For more information please read: http://www.jccovictoria.ca/rossbay.html.

Proudly Supported By

Obon-Logos

2017 Obon Matsuri – Sunday, August 13th at Ross Bay Cemetery

Obon Matsuri (2017)

Cost: FREE

ALL ARE WELCOME

Kakehashi (Bridge) Stone

Schedule

12:00pm – Grave Washing
2:30pm – Obon Buddhist Service
3:30pm – Matsuri (Festival)

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

What is Obon?

Obon is a Japanese Buddhist custom to honour the spirit’s of one’s ancestors. This Buddhist-Confucian custom has evolved into a family reunion holiday during which people return to ancestral family places and visit and clean their graves. It is when the spirits of ancestors are supposed to revisit the household altars. It has been celebrated in Japan for more than 500 years and traditionally includes a dance, known as Bon-Odori.” – from Wikipedia

This is a time for us to get in touch with our past, expressing our true joy and gratitude to not only our immediate ancestors, but to all past causes and conditions that have allowed us to be here today. It is the ultimate recognition and celebration of the oneness of life that has existed in the past and that we continue to be a part of today.

Japanese-Canadian Graves at Ross Bay Cemetery

The Japanese-Canadian community in Victoria was exiled by the Canadian Government during the Pacific War (WWII) and very few ever returned. Therefore, there are no descendants to care for the graves in Ross Bay Cemetery. The VNCS and Victoria Japanese Friendship Society are pleased to continue the work of the Kakehashi (Bridge Building) Project along with the Old Cemeteries Society in caring for the Japanese graves. For more information please read: http://www.jccovictoria.ca/rossbay.html.

The following is the scheduled program for Obon.

12:00 pm – Grave Washing

2013 Grave Washing
2013 Grave Washing

Everyone meet at the Kakehashi Stone at 12 (donations of flowers are welcome, please bring at this time) and then cleaning teams will be assembled to proceed with:

  • Cleaning of gravestones
  • Laying flowers and toys for children’s graves
  • Preparing the Kakehashi Stone

2:30 pm – Obon Service

Obon Service 2011
Obon Service 2011

Obon service led by Reverend Grant Ikuta, Resident Minister of the Steveston Buddhist Temple and Bishop of the Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Temples of Canada

3:30 pm – Matsuri (Festival at Ross Bay Villa)

Suika Wari 2014
Suika Wari 2014

Obon Matsuri (festival) at Ross Bay Villa (1490 Fairfield Road).
Light refreshments (including Kakigōri) will be provided as a thank you for all the hard work in washing the graves and entertainment will include the Furusato Dancers and other activities.

Hope to see you there!

Google Map
Ross Bay Cemetery map – http://www.oldcem.bc.ca/brochurerbc.pdf

Click for a larger image
Obon Matsuri Map

Ross Bay Cemetery website – http://www.oldcem.bc.ca/cem_rb.htm
Ross Bay Villa website – http://rossbayvilla.org/

Proudly Supported By

Obon-Logos

2016 Obon Matsuri – Sunday, August 21st at Ross Bay Cemetery

2016 Obon Matsuri

Cost: FREE

ALL ARE WELCOME

Kakehashi (Bridge) Stone

6th Annual Obon Festival
@ Ross Bay Cemetery & Ross Bay Villa

Sunday, August 21st, 2016
12:30pm – Grave Washing
2:30pm – Obon Buddhist Service
3:30pm – Matsuri (Festival)

Hosted by the Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society and the Japanese Friendship Society with support from The Old Cemeteries Society – we invite you to come and participate with us in honouring those who have gone before.
Continue reading 2016 Obon Matsuri – Sunday, August 21st at Ross Bay Cemetery

2015 Obon Matsuri – Sunday, August 9th at Ross Bay Cemetery

2015 Obon Matsuri

Cost: FREE

ALL ARE WELCOME

Kakehashi (Bridge) Stone

5th Annual Obon Festival
@ Ross Bay Cemetery & Ross Bay Villa

Sunday, August 9th, 2015
12:30pm – Grave Washing
2:30pm – Obon Buddhist Service
3:30pm – Matsuri (Festival)

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

What is Obon?

Obon is a Japanese Buddhist custom to honour the spirit’s of one’s ancestors. This Buddhist-Confucian custom has evolved into a family reunion holiday during which people return to ancestral family places and visit and clean their graves. It is when the spirits of ancestors are supposed to revisit the household altars. It has been celebrated in Japan for more than 500 years and traditionally includes a dance, known as Bon-Odori.” – from Wikipedia

This is a time for us to get in touch with our past, expressing our true joy and gratitude to not only our immediate ancestors, but to all past causes and conditions that have allowed us to be here today. It is the ultimate recognition and celebration of the oneness of life that has existed in the past and that we continue to be a part of today.

Japanese-Canadian Graves at Ross Bay Cemetery

The Japanese-Canadian community in Victoria was exiled by the Canadian Government during the Pacific War (WWII) and very few ever returned. Therefore, there are no descendants to care for the graves in Ross Bay Cemetery. The VNCS and Victoria Japanese Friendship Society are pleased to continue the work of the Kakehashi (Bridge Building) Project along with the Old Cemeteries Society in caring for the Japanese graves. For more information please read: http://www.jccovictoria.ca/rossbay.html.

The following is the scheduled program for Obon 2015

12:30 pm – Grave Washing

2013 Grave Washing
2013 Grave Washing

Everyone meet at the Kakehashi Stone and then cleaning teams will be assembled.
Cleaning of gravestones
Laying flowers and senko (incense)
Preparing the Kakehashi Stone
Donations of flowers are welcome, please bring at this time.

2:30 pm – Obon Service

Obon Service 2011
Obon Service 2011

Obon service led by Reverend Grant Ikuta, Resident Minister of the Steveston Buddhist Temple and Bishop of the Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Temples of Canada

3:30 pm – Matsuri (Festival at Ross Bay Villa)

Suika Wari 2014
Suika Wari 2014

Obon Matsuri (festival) at Ross Bay Villa (1490 Fairfield Road).
Light refreshments (including Sushi & Kakigōri) will be provided as a thank you for all the hard work in washing the graves and entertainment will include the Furusato Dancers, Suika Wari (Japanese watermelon game for the kids) and finish with Uminari Taiko!

Hope to see you there!

Google Map
Ross Bay Cemetery map – http://www.oldcem.bc.ca/brochurerbc.pdf

Click for a larger image
Obon Matsuri Map

Ross Bay Cemetery website – http://www.oldcem.bc.ca/cem_rb.htm
Ross Bay Villa website – http://rossbayvilla.org/

Proudly Supported By

Obon-Logos

2014 Obon Matsuri – Sunday, August 10th

2014 Obon Matsuri

Kakehashi (Bridge) Stone
Kakehashi (Bridge) Stone

4th Annual Obon Festival @ Ross Bay Cemetery & Ross Bay Villa
Sunday, August 10th, 2014
12:30pm – Grave Washing
2:30pm – Obon Buddhist Service
3:30pm – Matsuri
Cost: FREE

ALL ARE WELCOME

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.

Obon is a Japanese Buddhist custom to honour the spirit’s of one’s ancestors. This Buddhist-Confucian custom has evolved into a family reunion holiday during which people return to ancestral family places and visit and clean their graves. It is when the spirits of ancestors are supposed to revisit the household altars. It has been celebrated in Japan for more than 500 years and traditionally includes a dance, known as Bon-Odori. – from Wikipedia

The Japanese-Canadian community in Victoria was exiled by the Canadian Government during the Pacific War (WWII) and very few ever returned. Therefore there are no descendants to care for the graves in Ross Bay Cemetery. The VNCS and Victoria Japanese Friendship Society are pleased to continue the work of the Kakehashi (Bridge Building) Project in caring for the Japanese graves. For more information please read: http://www.jccovictoria.ca/rossbay.html.

This is a time for us to get in touch with our past, expressing our true joy and gratitude to not only our immediate ancestors, but to all past causes and conditions that have allowed us to be here today. It is the ultimate recognition and celebration of the oneness of life that has existed in the past and that we continue to be a part of today.

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

The following is the scheduled program for Obon 2014 on Sunday, August 10, 2014

12:30 pm
Everyone meet at the Kakehashi Stone and then cleaning teams will be assembled.
Cleaning of gravestones
Laying flowers and senko (incense)
Preparing the Kakehashi Stone
Donations of flowers are welcome, please bring at this time.

2:30 pm
Obon service led by Reverend Grant Ikuta, Resident Minister of the Steveston Buddhist Temple and Bishop of the Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Temples of Canada

3:30 pm
Obon Matsuri (festival) at Ross Bay Villa (1490 Fairfield Road).
3:50pm – Rina El-Nahas will perform traditional (minyo) folk songs
4:10pm – The Furusato Dancers will perform the Morioka Sansa Odori follwed by Wonderful Canada and finish with Aigato Ondo (with audience participation)
4:30pm – Suikawari (Japanese watermelon game for the kids)
4:55pm – Uminari Taiko will perform the Language of the Workd/Hachijo followed by Oedo and concluding with Korekara
Light refreshments will be provided.

Hope to see you there!

Google Map
Ross Bay Cemetery map – http://www.oldcem.bc.ca/brochurerbc.pdf

Click for a larger image
Obon Matsuri Map

Ross Bay Cemetery website – http://www.oldcem.bc.ca/cem_rb.htm
Ross Bay Villa website – http://rossbayvilla.org/