Obon, also called, Bon, is a festival that is celebrated annually during the summer in Japan and also in the West. Obon festivals take place at Buddhist temples during the months of July and August to honor ancestors who have passed.
In Japan, Obon is also considered a time for families to reunite, pay homage to familial altars, and visit tombs of ancestors past. From a spiritual perspective, it is also a time to celebrate with dancing, or bon odori, which is the highlight of Obon festivals. Dancing represents joy and appreciation for the sacrifices of ancestors and loved ones who have passed on.
01 of 09
Takoyaki is a popular Japanese snack food made of a type of light Japanese pancake batter. It is a round, bite-sized ball filled with a small piece of cooked octopus (tako) and pan fried in a special takoyaki pan. It is topped with okonomiyaki (Japanese savory pancake) sauce, katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes), and aonori (dried green seaweed). Optional toppings include Japanese mayonnaise and beni shoga (red pickled ginger).
02 of 09
Futomaki, literally translates to "thick" or "fat" roll. It is a very traditional sushi roll that is filled with vegetables such as kanpyo (dried daikon cooked in dashi), cucumber slices, or cooked spinach; tamagoyaki (egg roulade); and a sweet dried fish that is dyed a beautiful pink, known in Japanese as sakura denbu. All the ingredients are wrapped in sushi rice and seaweed.
03 of 09
04 of 09
Inari sushi is sushi rice wrapped in ageh or fried tofu, which is cooked in a sweet dashi. Sometimes the sushi rice used for this is mixed with five types of vegetables and is known as gomoku sushi. These are often a favorite among kids and sometimes referred to as “footballs”.Continue to 5 of 9 below.
05 of 09
06 of 09
Yaki soba is a popular Japanese pan fried noodle with chicken or beef and stir-fried vegetables such as cabbage, celery, and carrots. It is often topped with dried green seaweed or aonori.
07 of 09
Grilled corn, known as yaki tomorokoshi, is a popular item and is either served whole in the husk or halved and skewered. The preparation is the same as standard grilled corn, but with additional flavors. Toppings such as teriyaki glaze are most popular, but garnishes such as butter, salt, and furikake (dried rice seasoning), garlic seasoning, and chili powder might also be available.
08 of 09
Mitarashi dango are small balls of dense rice cake made of glutinous rice flour and skewered on a bamboo stick. It is served with a sweet soy sauce glaze. It is considered a type of dessert or snack.Continue to 9 of 9 below.
09 of 09
A uniquely Japanese summer dessert is uji-kintoki. It is shave ice topped with kintoki (sweet red beans) and garnished with rennyu (sweetened condensed milk) and a sweet green tea syrup (uji).