In-person Pilgrimage

Images from Amache Pilgrimage

Annual Amache Pilgrimage – May 17-19, 2024

Pilgrimages to former WWII concentration camps for those of Japanese descent were started in the late 1960s. It took nearly a quarter century for former prisoners and their descendants to question why they had been imprisoned and begin searching for answers. The first formal pilgrimage to Amache was one of the official events commemorating the state of Colorado’s centennial from 1975-76. After pilgrims arrived at Amache, they cleaned the cemetery site. Learn more on the Pilgrimage History page.

The one-day annual Amache Pilgrimage usually takes place on the Saturday before Memorial Day weekend, which this year will be May 18, 2024. Nikkeijin Kai of Colorado and Amache Preservation Society plan to coordinate the original Pilgrimage memorial services and potluck lunch much as they have been held for over 40 years for pilgrims coming from Denver for a one-day Pilgrimage.

Due to increased interest in Amache becoming a National Historic Site, in 2023 Amache Alliance, the University of Denver Amache Project, National Parks Conservation Association, and Colorado Preservation Inc., and Sand Creek Massacre Foundation provided additional weekend events for people who had their own transportation and desired to learn more about the Amache site and its community. This year, additional weekend events will again be offered on Friday May 17, and Sunday May 19 for people who have their own transportation and may desire to learn more about the Amache site and its community.

View the Pilgrimage flyer or scroll down to see the full schedules. You can jump to the sections for the one-day Pilgrimage or additional weekend events. Registration for events is still free. Pilgrims will need to cover costs of transportation and meals outside of the Pilgrimage potluck. We have also included some news footage from recent Pilgrimages at the bottom of the page.



Bus from Denver for one-day original Pilgrimage activities


Schedule of Events
Saturday May 19
6:00 AM Bus pickup at Simpson United Methodist Church
6:30 AM Tri-State Denver Buddhist Temple
8:00 AM Break – Limon Refreshment Stop
11:00 AM Pilgrimage Memorial Ceremony at the Amache Cemetery
12:30 PM Pilgrimage Potluck Lunch at Granada High School
2:00 PM Amache Museum Tour or Site Tour (TBD)
2:30 PM Bus returns to Denver

Thanks to generous support from Nikkeijin Kai, the charge for the bus is still just $30 per person. Bus reservations must be made and paid in advance.The Nikkeijin Kai will provide KN95 masks, personal sanitizers and other safety equipment to any riders who need them. It goes without saying, if you have symptoms, tested positive for COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone who does or might be infected, please stay home! The NKC will refund the bus fare to anyone who cancels for this reason. We are committed to doing what we can in the name of safety. Please reserve seats ASAP by registering AND confirming that your payment has been received with Hiro Hansen, 720-366-9798, hansenhiro@aol.com.

Two bus pick-up points are available. The first pick-up will board at 6:00AM at Simpson United Methodist Church, 6001 Wolff Street, Arvada 80003; the second pick-up will be 6:30AM at downtown Denver’s Tri-State Buddhist Temple, 1947 Lawrence Street, Denver 80202. Attendees are encouraged to board at Simpson where parking is more plentiful. Snacks are provided and continuous educational programs run on overhead bus screens on the restroom equipped vehicle. There is time to share conversation with other passengers, some of whom were forcibly removed to Amache or to one of the nine other major US concentration camps. After a short rest stop in Limon, the bus will arrive at the Amache cemetery at approximately 11:00AM for a brief memorial service and oshoko (offering of incense) to commemorate those who died while imprisoned there or while serving in the US military. Attendees will then meet at Granada Undivided School, where lunch and a short program will be provided, and the bus will re-board by 2:30 for the return trip to Denver; passengers will be dropped off in reverse order of the morning, and can expect to arrive back at Simpson by 6:30-7:00PM.


Personal transportation required for other weekend events


Schedule of Events
Friday May 17
3:00 PM NPS Amache National Historic Site Ribbon Cutting Celebration,
meet at Amache site entrance
4:30 PM Amache Site Tours, “Uncovering Amache,” meet at Amache site entrance
6:30 PM Evening program at Granada Community Center, 103 S Main St., Granada, CO
Saturday May 18
9:00 AM Guided Family Barracks Tour, meet at Amache site entrance
11:00 AM Pilgrimage Memorial Ceremony at the Amache Cemetery
12:30 PM Pilgrimage Potluck Lunch at Granada High School
2:00 PM Guided Family Barracks Tour, meet at Granada High School
3:30 PM Help shape the future of Amache exhibits, meet at Granada Community Center, 103 S Main St., Granada, CO
5:00 PM Dinner by Shorty’s Cafe at the historic Newman’s Drugs building in Granada – 1st seating (cash only, limited to 80 people)
6:30 PM Dinner by Shorty’s Cafe at the historic Newman’s Drugs building in Granada – 2nd seating (cash only, limited to 80 people)
Sunday May 19
9:00 AM Meet at Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site for a guided tour,
approximately 1 hour northwest of Amache or northeast of Lamar

If you have your own transportation or are flying in and renting a car, be sure to register for the additional informal activities. For those arriving by Friday afternoon, the National Park Service will be hosting a celebration of Amache becoming a National Historic Site. Amache Site Tours will also be offered. In the evening, there will be presentations at the Community Center in Granada. On Saturday before the Pilgrimage ceremony at the Amache site, there will be time to tour the site or visit your family barracks. After lunch, there will be free time to visit the site and museum on your own and you may also sign up for assistance finding your family barrack. In the afternoon, Dana Ogo-Shew and volunteers facilitate small group discussions at the Granada Community Center to help include community voices and perspectives in Amache’s future interpretive exhibits. Learn about upcoming interpretation at Amache and provide feedback on important interpretive themes. In the evening, there will be a casual Mexican buffet dinner by Shorty’s Cafe at the historic Newman’s Drugs building in Granada, Cost $15 + tip. Join other Amache survivors and community members for a time of sharing food and stories.

Hotels are available in Lamar, Colorado, 17 miles to the west on Highway 50. Jane Daniels has reserved a block of rooms for the Amache Pilgrimage at the Holiday Inn in Lamar, CO. The rate for this room block is $128/night. Call by April 18th to reserve a room for that rate – (719) 931-4010. Other area hotels include a Days Inn, Quality Inn, and Cobblestone Hotel & Suites.

In addition to Denver, Colorado Springs is an optional airport that can save close to 100 miles driving distance vs. arriving in Denver. Pilgrims can drive from Colorado Springs south on Interstate 25 to Pueblo, Colorado, then due east on Highway 50 to Amache, planning to arrive at the cemetery by 11:00 a.m. on Saturday.

***FOR THOSE DRIVING PLEASE NOTE: ALTERNATE ROUTE DUE TO PARADE***
The Lamar Days Parade usually begins at 10:00 am on Saturday and will be along the route to Granada from Lamar. To avoid the parade, you can take a back road to Granada that used to be Highway 196 but is now a county road. You will need to turn at the Big Timbers Museum on the big curve that heads to Lamar. That road will take you to a point between Bristol and Granada, Colorado. You will take that road for 17 miles, and then at the stop sign you will turn right to go into Granada. Once in downtown Granada you need to turn right and head back West to the Amache turn off. This road used to be marked but now that it is a county road, it is not marked as well. If you end up in Lamar, you will be waiting for some time. The parade route will start on Highway 50 and move slowly West towards Lamar.

Planning to stay in the area overnight would give you more time during the day to visit the site, go on the driving tour, and visit the Amache Museum. If you plan on spending time at the site, please come prepared with sturdy shoes, water, sunscreen, and a hat. It will be very hot and dry and there are limited amenities. The terrain is rough and uneven with low bushes, rocks, and cactus. Make sure to familiarize yourself with the information on the page Know Before You Go.

You may also visit other area attractions, including the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site, located 35 miles northwest of Amache, where visitors can learn about the woman for whom the Amache Relocation Center was named and her Cheyenne sub-Chief father, Ochinee, who was killed at Sand Creek in 1864. The National Park Service will be providing a guided tour on Sunday morning, meet at the entrance at 9 am.

Directions to Sand Creek Massacre NHS entrance from Lamar:

  • Head north US 287 N / Main St
  • Bear right onto State Highway 196 (US 287 N will curve to the left with a small exit road onto State Highway 196). Drive 3 miles
  • Keep going straight onto County Rd 8. Drive 7.5 miles
  • Road name changes to County Road 49. Drive 11.5 miles
  • Turn right onto County Road N. Drive 2.5 miles
  • Turn right onto state Highway 96. Drive 2.5 miles
  • Turn left onto County Road 54 / Chief White Antelope Way (dirt road). Drive 7 miles
  • Turn right onto County Road W (dirt road). Drive 1 mile
  • Entrance to Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site is on the left.


Recent News Coverage

2023 Pilgrimage
Colorado Sun: Descendants of two government-sanctioned atrocities gather in Colorado, bond over “shared identity”

The 2023 Pilgrimage included an exchange with Sand Creek Massacre descendants. Read more in an article in the Colorado Sun.

2022 Pilgrimage
9News: Survivors, descendants and families make pilgrimage to Amache

9News.com attended the Pilgrimage and produced a 30 minute special “Injustice Forever: the Story of Amache”, which aired on Sunday June 26, 2022. It tells the story of Amache and what will likely to happen to the site once the National Park Service is running it. View the 2:50 minute overview video on 9News.com, or watch the full special.

9News: Pilgrimage to Amache Returns

9News.com also interviewed Derek Okubo, Director of the Denver Agency for Human Rights and Amache descendant. View the 5 minute video on 9News.com.

Colorado Public Radio: The Camp Amache rose is blooming. Here’s what it looks like

A rose bush planted by Amache incarcerees was witnessed blooming for the first time in almost 80 years at the Pilgrimage. Learn more about the discovery of the Amache rose, propagation of cuttings at the Denver Botanic Gardens, and view footage of the bloom on CPR news.

The Prowers Journal: Historic Amache Pilgrimage

Read a brief overview of the main Pilgrimage events by The Prowers Journal.

KRDO: Remembering Amache, the story of Colorado’s WWII Japanese internment camp

KRDO produced a short video and StoryMap of the Pilgrimage, featuring an interviews with Amache survivor Bob Fuchigami and APS lead John Hopper.