Immerse yourself in the tranquil beauty of twinkling candlelights at Candle Night for a Million at Zojoji Temple. This unique event held on the summer solstice which in 2023 will fall on Wednesday 22 June, is an integral part of a broader environmental initiative in Japan aimed at encouraging energy conservation and raising environmental consciousness.
Note: If you missed this event you can also see Zojoji’s candle display during Zojoji Tanabata Festival: Washi Candle Night 2023 (July 6-7th)
The charming Zojoji Temple has long been admired and has an unbeatable location opposite the iconic Tokyo Tower, but this June on the night of the summer solstice it’s set to become an even more enchanting sight. The temple is preparing to host its annual candlelight show – a longstanding tradition dating all the way back to 2003 – as part of its mission to encourage people to disconnect from electricity and indulge in some slow-paced relaxation.
At precisely 8 pm, watch in awe as the flickering light of over 1,690 candles illuminates the grand staircase leading up towards the shrine.
Candle Night Marche
However, it’s not all about staring at the flames – starting from 4 pm sharp will be Candle Night Marche featuring delightful seasonal fruit and vegetable stands.
An event that provides an opportunity for each participant to take a peaceful moment to reflect and create a personal connection with food makers.
The Marche highlights the importance of establishing a “bond with the producers” and features a selection of seasonal fruits and vegetables grown without pesticides, as well as traditionally prepared seasonings. All these “farm-to-table” ingredients are brought to you by Daichi wo Mamoru Kai.
You can also explore the offerings of Yamatogawa Sake Brewery from Kitakata, Fukushima, and Tochu Foods, the renowned tsukudani (food boiled in soy sauce) manufacturer from Nihonbashi, Tokyo. Both will be represented at the event, allowing you to meet the faces behind these well-regarded specialties.
Looking for a bite to eat? The “Kitchen Car” is also ready to serve you dishes made from ingredients supplied by Daichi wo Mamoru Kai.
In addition to the culinary delights, a variety of candles will be for sale. Plus, the event includes engaging workshops where participants can paint candles and contribute to the venue’s overall décor.
An Evening of Lights and Reflections
Candle Night at Zojoji Temple is a night of peaceful introspection, illuminating the ancient temple grounds with the soft glow of thousands of candles. As the sun sets, the flickering candlelight transforms the temple into a dreamy spectacle, providing a perfect backdrop for contemplation and appreciation of the fleeting nature of life.
Participants are encouraged to join in this illumination by switching off their electric lights and basking in the warm radiance of candlelight. This simple act serves as a powerful reminder of our dependence on electricity and the importance of energy conservation.
A Quick Note On The Japan Rail Pass Price Hike
The price of the wonderful Japan Rail Pass is going up a massive 62% in October but there’s still time to lock in the old rates if you’re quick. Klook still offers the old prices so if you buy before September 30th you can travel with the old prices until December 28th, 2023.
The Grandeur of Zojoji Temple
Situated in Tokyo’s Minato ward, Zojoji Temple is an essential center for the Jodo sect of Buddhism in the Kanto Region. The temple is well-known for its imposing main gate, the Sangedatsumon, which has survived multiple fires, earthquakes, and wars. It offers a stunning contrast to the modern Tokyo Tower that looms in the background.
During Candle Night, this historical temple takes on an ethereal quality, as the ancient architecture is bathed in a soft, golden light. The spectacle adds an additional layer of reverence to this site of religious importance.
Combining Activism with Cultural Experience
Beyond its environmental message, Candle Night at Zojoji Temple often includes performances, adding a touch of cultural vibrancy to the evening. The event offers a unique blend of activism and cultural experience, making it a great option for those interested in environmental issues and Japanese culture.
Candle Night at Zojoji Temple invites us to slow down and reflect on our environmental footprint. Amid the hustle and bustle of Tokyo, this event stands as a beacon, highlighting the importance of mindfulness and conservation in our daily lives.
Candle Night Across Japan
While Zojoji Temple might be one of the most picturesque spots to experience Candle Night, the event is celebrated in various locations across Japan. The initiative has been embraced by households, businesses, and public spaces throughout the country.
Notably, Omotesando, one of Tokyo’s main shopping streets, often hosts a Candle Night event. During the evening, many shops switch off their electric lights, creating a captivating display along the bustling street.
Elsewhere, in the city of Kobe, the Luminarie light festival incorporates the principles of Candle Night. This stunning light festival, held in memory of the victims of the Great Hanshin earthquake, uses millions of LED lights to create captivating, sculpture-like displays.
Remember, wherever you choose to experience Candle Night, the essence of the event is to spend an evening without electric lights, focusing on energy conservation and contemplation.
Getting to Zojoji Temple
Located in Tokyo’s Minato ward, reaching Zojoji Temple is a straightforward task thanks to the city’s efficient public transportation system.
By Train: The nearest train stations to Zojoji Temple are Hamamatsucho Station on the JR Yamanote and Keihin-Tohoku Lines, and Onarimon Station or Shibakoen Station on the Toei Mita Line. From any of these stations, it’s a brief 5 to 10-minute walk to the temple.
By Bus: Zojoji Temple can also be reached by the ‘Toei Bus.’ You’ll need to get off at the ‘Shiba Koen’ stop, which is conveniently located near the temple.
- Title: Candle Night for a Million
- Date & Time: Wednesday, June 21, 2023, from 16:00 to 21:00
- Venue: Daihonzan Zojoji Temple, located at 4-7-35 Shiba Koen, Minato-ku, Tokyo
- Hosted By: Daichi wo Mamoru Kai, also known as the Japan Association for the Protection of the Earth
For more details about the event, you can visit the official website here. Note that it’s in Japanese but can be translated.