Please join the National Conference of State Societies (NCSS) and the National Park Service for the traditional lighting of the Japanese Stone Lantern situated amidst the cherry blossom trees on the Tidal Basin. This annual event is free and open to the public and includes :
* Remarks by top U.S. and Japanese officials
* Traditional music and songs from the Toho Koto Society of Washington, DC and the Washington Japanese Choral Society
* A Color Guard Presentation
*The first public introduction of the young women leaders from across the United States and world serving as 2017 Cherry Blossom Princesses along with the United States Cherry Blossom Queen and Japan Cherry Blossom Queen
* Lighting of the Japanese Stone Lantern
Seating will begin at 2:30 PM and the ceremony will start at 3 PM.
About the Lantern - In 1954 the Japanese Stone Lantern was presented to Washington, DC as a gift to commemorate the 100th anniversary of America’s first treaty with Japan. It is lit only once a year during the Cherry Blossom Festival by the Cherry Blossom Princess representing Japan. Standing 8.5 feet tall and weighing approximately 4,000 pounds it was carved nearly four centuries ago to honor the Third Shogun of the Tokugawa period. It stands 50 feet east of the first two cherry blossom trees planted by First Lady Helen Taft and Viscountess Chinda in 1912 and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Cherry Blossom Princess Program is a cultural, educational, and professional development program for women leaders ages 19 to 24 held each year during one week of the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, DC. Since 1948, State and Territorial Societies along with many Embassies and Consulates in Washington, DC have enabled more than 3,000 young women leaders from across the United States and world to participate in this program and the celebration of the unique and enduring friendship between the United States and Japan.