When it comes to scenic spots in Tokyo, Chidorigafuchi, the moat that surrounds the Imperial Palace, is consistently ranked as one of the best. Not only is it one of Tokyo’s best spots to see cherry blossoms in the spring, but it’s also known for its famous Chiyoda Lantern Floating Evening, where paper lanterns are released into the moat.
The event first began back in 1958, as a way to bring comfort to people after World War II. Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the event has not taken place since 2019, but will return once more for two days on the evenings of July 29 and 30.
It’s free for guests to come and watch, but for those who want to be more involved in the event there are a number of options. Boats are available for rent so you can float along with the paper lanterns. Renting a boat costs 2,000 yen per person, and up to three people are allowed in one boat. Due to heavy demand, the boat rental service will be done via lottery, and anyone interested will need to apply via the event’s website. Applications are open until June 30, and winners will be notified by July 4.
Alternatively, you can write your own message of hope on a paper lantern. Paper lanterns cost 1,000 yen each and can be bought at the nearby Chidorigafuchi Boathouse on the day of the event between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., or pre-ordered before the event. As the limit to the number of lanterns is 2,000, anyone determined to get their message floating on the Imperial Palace moat should pre-order a lantern ahead of time to avoid having their hopes dashed. Pre-orders can be made via the website.
And if you’re living outside of Japan or can’t make it to the event, don’t worry — there is an option for you to take part in the festival too. The Floating Lantern Special Message service lets anyone, anywhere purchase a lantern for the event. The lanterns come in three designs and any lanterns purchased will be distributed on the moat by a member of the Chiyoda Tourist Association during the event.
▼ You can choose from the following designs.
With summer just around the corner and COVID-19 cases on a steady decline, fingers crossed we can see a lot more familiar summer festivals returning this year, too.
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