This summer, the historic Zojoji Temple in Tokyo’s Minato Ward will be bathed in soft candlelight for the “Tanabata Festival Washi Candle Night 2023” on July 6th and 7th.

If you missed Zojoji’s Candle Night for a Million People, don’t despair because the candles will be back out and lined up on the steps for the Zojoji Tanabata Fastival as well.

Photo Credit Zojoji Temple Tanabata Festival
Photo Credit: Zojoji Temple Tanabata Festival

What Goes On?

Aligning with the traditional Tanabata celebrations, where wishes written on tanzaku paper strips are offered up for fulfillment, this unique event has been enchanting temple-goers since its initiation in 2009.

At the Zojoji Tanabata Festival, the pathway between the temple’s main gate, known as “San Gate,” and the grand hall will be illuminated with washi candles arranged to replicate the celestial Milky Way — an iconic feature of the Tanabata lore.

Photo Credit Zojoji Temple Tanabata Festival
Photo Credit: Zojoji Temple Tanabata Festival

What sets this event apart is that every single washi paper used for the candles is handcrafted by the student volunteers who organize the event. As the warm and gentle light from the candles flickers against the backdrop of the Tokyo Tower, it creates a magical, dreamlike scene that brings the heavens a little closer to Earth.

Event Details

The Tanabata Festival Washi Candle Night 2023 will take place from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM on both nights.

The Zojoji Temple is conveniently located at a walking distance from several train stations:

  • A 3-minute walk from Onarimon Station or Shibakoen Station on the Toei Subway
  • A 5-minute walk from Daimon Station on the Toei Subway
  • A 10-minute walk from Hamamatsucho Station on the JR line and Tokyo Monorail

Entrance to this ethereal spectacle is completely free of charge, and the event will proceed even if it rains. However, in the case of stormy weather, it may be cancelled for safety reasons.

The Sum Up

With its celebration of culture, tradition, and unity, the Zojoji Tanabata Festival Washi Candle Night is sure to be an unforgettable experience. Whether you come bearing a wish to be granted or simply to enjoy the mesmerizing illumination, you will undoubtedly be captivated by the warm glow and tranquil ambiance that fills the temple grounds. So mark your calendars, because this is one Tokyo summer night you won’t want to miss.

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