Toro Nagashi
Photo: Chiyoda City Tourism Association

Thousands of lanterns will be floating on the Chidorigafuchi Moat at this festival

For two days only in July, a total of 2,000 glowing lanterns will light up the Imperial Palace moat

Tabea Greuner
Written by
Tabea Greuner
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After a two-year hiatus, many of Tokyo’s summer festivals are making a comeback this year. One of them is the Toro Nagashi (floating lantern) nighttime event at Chidorigafuchi Moat at the fringe of the Imperial Palace grounds. This popular light-up spectacle will take place on July 29 and 30 after sundown.

Toro Nagashi
Photo: Chiyoda City Tourism Association

Over the course of two evenings, you can witness 2,000 beautiful paper lanterns floating on the water. The festival was first held in 1958 to comfort people after World War Two.

Toro Nagashi
Photo: Chiyoda City Tourism Association

You can just turn up and enjoy the sight for free. Or you could contribute to the spectacle by releasing your own lantern to the water. You can use the lantern to write down your hopes, dreams or prayers.

Toro Nagashi
Photo: Chiyoda City Tourism Association

The best way to immerse yourself in the event is to hop on a rowboat and send your lantern out onto the water while being surrounded by thousands of glowing lanterns.

This option is limited to only 80 groups (up to three people per group) a day and costs ¥2,000 per person (¥1,000 for primary school students and younger children; one lantern per person included). You’ll also have to pay an additional ¥500 per group to rent the boat. Participation is based on a lottery system and you'll have to register between June 20 and 30 via the event website (accessible from June 20).

Toro Nagashi
Photo: Chiyoda City Tourism Association

Even if you can’t secure a boat, you can still design a lantern on the day of the event.

Visit Chiyoda ward’s tourist information centre between June 20 and July 28 (10am-6pm, closed Jun 26 & Jul 24) to register in advance, or just drop by the Chidorigafuchi Boathouse on the day of the event between 5pm and 7pm. It’s ¥1,000 per lantern.

Toro Nagashi
Photo: Chiyoda City Tourism Association

If you can’t make it to the festival in person, you can purchase a pre-designed lantern online, and a member of the tourist association will release it on your behalf. A lantern costs ¥1,000 and you can choose between three messages. Get your lantern between June 20 and July 28 on the event website.

Toro Nagashi
Photo: Chiyoda City Tourism Association

The floating lantern festival at Chidorigafuchi Moat runs from 7pm to 8pm on July 29 and 30. Note that the event will be cancelled in case of heavy rain and stormy weather.

For more information, check the event website (accessible from Monday June 20). 

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