When it comes to bon dances, most people think of going to neighborhood temples; now that visitors know that it’s a huge part of Hawaii culture, they want to attend, but these neighborhoods can be hard to find. It’s kind of nice to see one convenient to tourists in Waikiki at the Pacific Beach Hotel.
I first heard about this bon dance last year through our Twitter friend @PhotoluluTV. I thought it would be cheesy and commercialized, but he said it was one of the best bon dances he had been to. He said the food is better — and in some cases, more authentic — although more expensive; the music is good, not to mention there is a live, mini-concert in between; and the dancing is better, since so many visitors from Japan attend. I was excited to go, but by the time he told me, bon dance season was over.
I finally got to go last night with my friend Lena Hanson (@LenaHanson). Since it’s in Waikiki and the hotel doesn’t want visitors to feel they’ve missed out, they call it a Natsu Matsuri (summer festival) and hold the bon dance every weekend for three weeks. You will need to buy scrips at $1 each to be able to buy food or play games. If you haven’t tried this bon dance yet, you can catch it tonight and next weekend. Click here for more details.
(Disclosure: since I was covering the event for Nonstop, the hotel took care of my parking and one round of scrips. Lena and I each bought another round of scrips.)
For a list of all bon dances around Oahu, click here.
Natsu Matsuri – Summer Festival
Pacific Beach Hotel
2490 Kalakaua Ave.
Event goes on tonight, and August 10 and 11