Thank you for joining us at the 10th Mōʻiliʻili Summer Fest!

Thank you for joining us at the 10th Mōʻiliʻili Summer Fest. All the smiles and happiness make the months of planning and work all worth it. Mahalo to all the sponsors, donors, and supporters who make this community celebration happen.

Mahalo to our sponsors, donors, and supporters!


Mahalo to our sponsors, donors, and supporters who made the 10th Mōʻiliʻili Summer Fest a success!

Moiliili Summer Fest

The Mō’ili’ili Summer Fest is Saturday, July 1, 2023, from 5pm-10pm at 1110 University Ave., the former Varsity Theatre parking lot and Coyne St. The 10th annual event is a modern street festival with food, shopping, and Honolulu’s largest Bon Dance. Celebrate the cultural diversity, history, and businesses of Mō’ili’ili.

Kamehameha Schools in partnership with the Mō’ili’ili Hongwanji Mission and other community organizations including the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i, The Mō’ili’ili Community Center, and the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa have come together to deliver this lively event for their community.

Guests are encouraged to rideshare or get dropped off.

Complimentary parking will be available at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa with shuttle buses running to and from the Summer Fest 4:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m., Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii will be available from 3pm and cost $2 per half hour, Shinnyo-En Hawaii on South Beretania will have parking for a donation.

Mahalo to CPB Foundation and Hawaii Tourism Authority for supporting our event this year. We are excited to partner with the following businesses- Eden In Love, Sumofish, and Asato Family Sherbet. These businesses will have special commemorative 10th Annual Mō’ili’ili Summer Fest collaboration items for sale.


Sneak Peak

Enjoy a Summer Fest sneak peek preview on Friday, June 30th from 5pm-8pm at the same location as the Mōʻiliʻili Summer Fest.

Free Parking in the Varsity Building Lot and a chance to get Sherbert from Asato Family Shop... fresh Andagi... and Saucer King 808's Flying Saucers ~ a sandwich with a sloppy joe filling originally from Kauaʻi.

Score Bon Dance towels from Mōʻiliʻili Hongwanji Mission and 10th Annual Summer Fest commemorative merchandise from Sumo Fish and Eden in Love.

*No traditional bon dance or additional vendors.

Great Shopping and More!

Sneak Peak

Enjoy Great Food!

Sneak Peak


Sneak Peak
Summer Fest Logo

Press Release

June 8, 2023


Media Contact:
Jay Park


Celebrate Obon season in historic Mōʻiliʻili with Honolulu’s largest bon dance and modern street festival

(Mōʻiliʻili, HI) – The 10th annual Mōʻiliʻili Summer Fest will be held on Saturday, July 1, 2023, at the former Varsity Theatre parking lot and Coyne Street from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Thousands are expected to celebrate this crowd favorite event honoring the historic Mōʻiliʻili district and Obon season featuring Honolulu’s largest bon dance. This community planned and programmed annual event also includes a modern street festival featuring a diversity of local food vendors, artisans, retailers, and cultural entertainment.

“The Summer Fest really highlights the cultural diversity, history, and businesses of Mōʻiliʻili,”said Mōʻiliʻili Hongwanji Mission President, Joanne Kealoha “The Mōʻiliʻili community welcomes everyone to come to one of Honolulu’s most historic districts and be a part of a cultural expression that has been happening for over 100 years.”

In 2023, the Mōʻiliʻili Summer Fest will celebrate its 10th event which has grown into a popular family-friendly summer event evening filled with activities for keiki, bon dancing, dining, and shopping. Commemorative merchandise will be available for purchase.

The festival is supported by Kamehameha Schools in partnership with the Mōʻiliʻili Hongwanji Mission and other community organizations including the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i, the Mōʻiliʻili Community Center, and the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa have come together to deliver this lively event for all to enjoy.

“Kamehameha Schools is proud to support the Mōʻiliʻili community and this event as we honor a decade of celebrating our roots in this vibrant neighborhood brimming with culture and diversity,” said Calvin Mann Kamehameha Schools commercial real estate planning and development director. “The Summer Fest brings together communities to enjoy an evening filled with history, cultural diversity, food and entertainment while supporting our local businesses and paying homage to this significant area.”

The Mōʻiliʻili Summer Fest is a free, family-friendly community event made possible by CPB Foundation. Attendees are encouraged to rideshare. Air-Conditioned Lavatories will be available. Parking will be available at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa from 4:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. and complimentary shuttles will be available to/from the event. More information is available at:


The 2023 Bon Dance season is just around the corner… Brush up on those dance moves and get some exercise. First timers are welcome too!

Mondays, June 5, 12, 19 from 6:30pm – 8:30pm at Mō‘ili‘ili Hongwanji Buddhist Temple (902 University Ave., social hall).

Please note that onsite parking is limited.

We look forward to seeing you there. Mahalo!

About the Mōʻiliʻili Summer Fest

The Mōʻiliʻili Summer Fest is an annual festival hosted in Hawaii. It is held during the Bon season and is a fundamental aspect of modern-day culture and life in Hawaii. The Mōʻiliʻili Summer Fest started as a family and friends’ dining, cultural, and shopping experience to commemorate the origins and diversity of the Mōʻiliʻili society. Celebrating Japanese and Hawaiian roots of one of the oldest neighborhoods in Hawaii, the Mōʻiliʻili Summer Fest is home to the largest Bon dance in Honolulu.

The event provides the opportunity to learn more about the Tanabata holiday on the 7th day of the 7th month, decorate a round Japanese fan called Uchiwa for using during the night, write a wish on a paper and suspend it on a bamboo tree from the Japanese Cultural Center. The Mōʻiliʻili Community Center also exhibits historical pictures of Mōʻiliʻili’s Hawaiian, Japanese-American, and Hawaiian-Chinese inhabitants.

The Bon Dance

The Bon dance, also known as Bon Odori, is a Japanese style of folk dance performed during the Obon season. The Bon dance tradition has a history of almost six hundred years and is said to have begun towards the end of the Muromachi era as a type of public entertainment. Bon Odori starts with the tale of a disciple of the Budha called Maha Maudgalyayana (Mokuren), who used his superhuman abilities to look upon his dead mother only to discover that she had plunged into the world of Hungry Ghosts and was in a lot of pain. Much disturbed, he sought the Buddha to find out how he could free his mother from this world. Buddha directed him to make sacrifices to the several Buddhist monks who had just finished a summer vacation on the 15th day of the 7th month. Maha Maudgalyayana followed the Buddha’s instructions and was successful in freeing his mother. He also started to understand the true essence of the selfless sacrifices his mother had made for him throughout his life. His mother’s release from suffering and the kindness she had shown him throughout his life made him so happy that he started to dance with joy. It is from Mokuren’s dance that the name Bon dance is derived. In essence, the Bon Odori is a dance to remember and appreciate one’s ancestors and the sacrifices they made. Over the years, the original spiritual purpose has somewhat faded, and the dance is presently associated with summer.

Traditionally a Nenbutsu folk dance to embrace the spirit of the dead, the music and technique employed now differ in many aspects across regions. The music can be songs related to the spiritual communication of Obon, or local Minyo folk songs. As a result, the Bon dance will appear different depending on the region it is being performed. In a typical Bon dance, people line up in a circle around a large wooden scaffold known as a yagura. The yagura also acts as the bandstand for the singers of the performance. Some dances move clockwise, while others move counter-clockwise around the yagura. In some dances, people reverse when dancing, but most dances do not incorporate this aspect. Sometimes people move forward and backward while facing the yagura. In other dances such as the Tokushima Awa Odori and Kagoshima Ohara dance, the dancers move in a straight line in the streets of the town. Other ways in which the Bon dance can vary involves the incorporation of different types of fans, towels, and wooden clappers during the dance. The music played during the dance is not restricted to Minyo and Obon songs, children tunes tailored to the beat of the ondo, and modern enka hits are sometimes incorporated into the dance.

The dance spread to Hawaii through plantation workers who had immigrated from Japan. Presently the dance is held at Buddhist missions, Shintoist missions, and in shopping centers in Hawaii. In some Buddhist missions, the family members of the deceased burn incense as a way of remembrance before taking part in the Bon dance. Other than that, the festival is non-religious. The Participants, mostly of Japanese descent and people from different races, dance around the yagura in a circle. Recordings are played on the yagura, and the taiko group plays drums to accompany the songs. The songs performed vary among the regions and may include both Japanese traditional Bon Odori tunes as well as modern songs.