Nikkei Angel Island Pilgrimage

Angel Island Pilgrimage header_600x225SAVE THE DATE!

Fifth Nikkei Angel Island Pilgrimage planned for Oct. 1, 2022

Read about the Nikkei Angel Island Pilgrimage:


WATCH a video slideshow of the Nikkei Angel Island Pilgrimage

Past Nichi Bei Weekly stories about Angel Island:

• Historic pilgrimage reconnects Japanese American community to Angel Island immigration station (Oct. 30, 2014)

Preserving family histories for the future: Nikkei Angel Island Pilgrimage (Nov. 8, 2018)

• Pilgrimage sheds light on JA immigration history, honors those who preserved it (Oct. 15, 2015)

FAMILY REUNION: Third annual Nikkei Angel Island Pilgrimage reunites families with legacies (Oct. 13, 2016)

• NIKKEI ANGEL ISLAND CHRONICLES: Japanese immigrants and Japanese Americans on Angel Island

• NIKKEI ANGEL ISLAND CHRONICLES: The Shigenaga brothers’ detention on Angel Island and the continent during WWII

• NIKKEI ANGEL ISLAND CHRONICLES: Nikkei family makes historic visit to see ancestor’s inscription on Angel Island

• Alexander Weiss, who discovered Angel Island carvings, dies

Honoring our Immigrant Pioneers and Rediscovering our Family Histories

Saturday, October 13, 2018

• FERRY PACKAGES and BENTO ORDERS CLOSED. Feel free to attend on your own on the following Ferries:

Ferries depart at 9:45 a.m. from Pier 41 in San Francisco or 10 a.m. from Tiburon


Presented by: the Nichi Bei Foundation

in partnership with the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation

& National Japanese American Historical Society

& California Genealogical Society

with support from the
California State Parks,
San Francisco State University Asian American Studies,
San Francisco JACL, J-Sei, Japanese Community Youth Council

2018 Program highlights:

  • Speakers including Judy Sakaki, President, Sonoma State University; Grant Din, volunteer, Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation; and Linda Harms Okazaki, past president, California Genealogical Society.
  • Historical exhibits specific to the Japanese and Japanese American experience on Angel Island, including those sent there from Hawai‘i during World War II.
  • Family History Consultations with volunteers from the California Genealogical Society.
  • is donating 100 DNA kits ($99 value), available to the first 100 who purchase Nichi Bei Ferry Packages and undertake family history consultations. Additionally, there will be subscriptions and DNA kits donated from My Heritage and Family Tree DNA that will be raffled to those who purchase Nichi Bei Ferry Packages and undertake family history consultations.
  • The story of Roy Hirai, a Nisei who was detained on Angel Island as a teenager when the immigration authorities questioned the validity of his birth certificate. As an adult, he served in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.
  • Performances by Masayuki Koga on shakuhachi and dance by Ranko Ogura.
  • Screenings of the documentary “Issei” by Toshi Washizu, featuring interviews with first-generation Japanese immigrants, in the Mess Hall.
  • Blessing by Japanese American Religious Federation, presented by Rev. Grace Kaori Suzuki, Pastor, Christ United Presbyterian Church.
  • Bon Odori dance to honor our immigrant pioneers and ancestors, led by San Jose Obon choreographer Reiko Iwanaga, whose father-in-law Rev. Yoshio Iwanaga established the first Bon Odori in America 82 years ago.
  • Japanese bento lunches (optional).
  • Pre-order shuttle from Ayala Cove to Immigration Station (optional).

The schedule is designed to allow a free flow of activity during the day. Participants can visit the Immigration Station exhibits, see displays on the Japanese and Japanese American History at Angel Island, engage in genealogy research, learn about community history and what various organizations are doing, and enjoy time with family, friends and colleagues.


Keynote Speaker: Judy K. Sakaki

Judy K. Sakaki, president of Sonoma State University is the first Japanese American woman in the nation to lead a four-year university. A Sansei, she earned her Ph.D. in education from the University of California, Berkeley, her M.A. in educational psychology and B.A. in human development both from Cal State, East Bay.

Previously, Dr. Sakaki was vice president at the University of California (UC), overseeing student affairs for all 10 campuses in the system. One of her proudest professional accomplishments was leading the effort to award honorary degrees to the 700 Japanese American students who were incarcerated during World War II in American concentration camps and unable to complete their degrees at UC.

President Sakaki was a member of the 2010 US-Japan Council Leadership Delegation. Last year she was named President of the Year by the CSSA, representing the 425,000 students in the California State University system.




Masayuki Koga

Masayuki Koga, born in Omuta City, Japan, is a shakuhachi master who studied and teaches Kinko shakuhachi and Tozan Ryu shakuhachi. He received his master-teacher degree from the Tozan School in 1964. As a member of the award-winning Ensemble Nipponia, he made numerous appearances with the orchestra and recorded several albums for Columbia Records. He is the director of the Japanese Music Institute of America, which he founded in 1981. Since 1995 the Institute has taught shakuhachi, koto, and taiko.


Ranko Ogura

Ranko Ogura is a San Francisco-based dancer and choreographer. She established Ranko Ogura Dance in 2008. From the onset of her dance career, she has explored the ever-evolving relationship between human beings, nature, gravity and the universe. Influencing her approach has been the philosophy and conception of Zen. Ranko’s background includes studying Ballet, Modern dance, Jazz Dance and Kagura Butoh in Japan and New York.


Reiko Iwanaga

Reiko Iwanaga, who is also known by her Japanese classical dance name Hanayagi Reimichi, is the lead choreographer of San Jose Obon, the largest Bon Odori folk dancing festival in the United States. She was inducted into the Hokka Nichibei Kai Bunka Hall of Fame in 2017. Reiko is the daughter-in-law of Rev. Yoshio Iwanaga, who first introduced Bon Odori dancing to the United States some 82 years ago.




For your convenience, we are offering pre-order packages for:

(1) ferry ticket & museum (select the appropriate departure site: SF Blue and Gold or Tiburon Ferry; and option: adult, senior/child); and

(2) Japanese bento lunch (regular or vegetarian); includes water.






To those attending the Nikkei Angel Island Pilgrimage on Oct. 13, it is highly recommended to take the early ferries out of Tiburon and Pier 41 (SF):

10 a.m. out of Tiburon*. Arrives at 10:20 a.m.
9:45 a.m. out of Pier 41 in SF (near Pier 39). Arrives at Angel Island 10:15 a.m.

* There is an 11 a.m. ferry out of Tiburon, but no shuttle service from the Ayala Cove to the Immigration Station until 12:30 p.m.

The next available ferry out of Pier 41, at 11:45 a.m., will arrive at 12:15 p.m., and will make you miss most of the formal program, which starts at 11 a.m.

The U.S. Immigration Station is approximately a 1.5-mile walk from the ferry dock at Ayala Cove. Use of Northridge Trail, including the 144 steps to Perimeter Road, is the shortest and most direct way to the Immigration Station. The 1.5-mile walk from the dock to the Immigration Station could take anywhere from 20-40 minutes.



For those who wish, and especially seniors, a shuttle service is available from the dock at Ayala to the Immigration Station at 10:30 a.m. or 12:30 p.m. for $7. You can order shuttle tickets with the Ferry Packages. Shuttle service on the island is at maximum capacity as of Oct. 9, 2018.

Please plan to arrive at least 25-30 minutes before departure at the docks, as the ferries leave promptly at their designated times, and our volunteers will need to check you in. If you come early to the Immigration Station, you can visit the exhibits, and enjoy a leisurely walk to the Immigration Station.

Parking Tips:

Some Nikkei Angel Island Pilgrimage parking tips for Pier 41 and Tiburon:

PIER 41: Best all day lots include the Academy of Art at Beach and Stockton ($25 all day) or early bird parking at the apartment building at 2210 Stockton St. (varies; usually under $20). Pier 39 is about $40 all day. There are a number listed here:

Tiburon is only $5 in the lot behind the Bank of America or others further away from the bay. It’s only a few block walk from there. See a detailed map of the various lots and prices here:



Please consider donating a little extra to help us defray the ferry, museum and bento lunch costs for our volunteers, many of whom are students.

More information & to RSVP:


The Bay Area weather in October is generally quite pleasant.  However, the weather can fluctuate from warm & sunny to cold & windy. So, light layers are recommended.  We suggest a jacket, hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, and towel or blanket to sit on as the program and picnic lunch will be outdoors. As we will institute Bon Odori dancing from this year, you are encouraged to bring a happi coat.

Please remember to consider parking, departure times, and plan accordingly. The ferries will not wait for anyone.

From San Francisco:
Blue & Gold Fleet (SF), Pier 41, Fisherman’s Wharf (415) 773-1188
Departure Times on October 13: 9:45 am (arrives 10:10 a.m.)
Return Times: Departs 3:20 p.m. (arrives 3:40 p.m.); 5:00 p.m. (arrives 5:30 p.m.), 6:45 (arrives 7:15 p.m.)

From Tiburon:
Angel Island Ferry, Main Street & Tiburon Blvd (415) 435-2131
Departure Times on October 13: 10:00 a.m. (arrives 10:20 a.m.)
Return Times: 3:20 p.m. (arrives 3:40 p.m.), 4:20 p.m. (arrives 4:40 p.m.), 5:20 p.m. (arrives 5:40 p.m.)
For directions:

A shuttle from the dock to the immigration station is recommended for seniors and families with young children. A fee of $7 can be paid along with our Ferry Packages in advance for the shuttle. The U.S. Immigration Station is approximately a 1.5 mile walk from the ferry landing at Ayala Cove. Use the Northridge Trail, including 144 steps to Perimeter Road. [About a 20-25 minute walk.]


There are ramps throughout the exterior of the immigration station, which allow access to the different parts of the site, and there is a lift that allows one to get into the historic barracks. Inside, there is an elevator so there is easy access to both floors of the building. Only certain areas like the historic bathrooms in the building are inaccessible. The exterior bathrooms that are open to the public are ADA accessible.


How to get to Angel Island:
California State Park Brochure and Map:
Japanese American Detainees in WWII:
Virtual Tour of Angel Island Immigration Station:


Presented by:


in partnership with the

AIISF logo



National Japanese American Historical Society


California Genealogical Society

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