Japanese Stone Lantern Lighting Ceremony is a formal ceremonial lighting of the Japanese Stone Lantern near the cherry blossom trees on the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC. The lantern was carved more than 360 years ago and was first lit in 1651 to honor the Third Shogun of the Tokugawa period. It was given to the City of Washington as a gift in 1954 and symbolizes friendship and peace between Japan and the United States.
The lantern is lit only once each year as an annual tradition during the National Cherry Blossom Festival. The ceremony is free and open to the public.
Date and Time: April 2, 2017 3 p.m.
Location: North side of the Tidal Basin, at the west end of Kutz Bridge at Independence Avenue and 17th Street, SW. Washington DC. The closest Metro station to the site is the Smithsonian Station. See a map. In the event of severe weather, the ceremony will take place at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial’s auditorium at the ceremonial entrance to Arlington National Cemetery, in Arlington, Virginia.
The Japanese Stone Lantern in Washington DC is on the National Register of Historic Places, and has been preserved as the historic centerpiece of the annual Cherry Blossom Festival. Silver and stone lanterns in Japan date back to 600 A.D. when they were first used to illuminate Japanese pagodas and temples.
Later they were used in home gardens for traditional Japanese tea ceremonies. These special occasions were usually held in the evenings and lanterns were used to provide subdued lighting. Usually, they are placed near water or along a curve in a path.
The lighting ceremony is one of many special events during the annual spring festival.
For more information about attending the festival, see a Calendar of Events for the Cherry Blossom Festival