NCSS Cherry Blossom Premier Event: The Stone Lantern Lighting Ceremony
The ceremony takes place at the newly dedicated Japanese Rock Garden and is put on by NCSS, in conjunction with the National Park Service National Capital Region. It includes traditional music by the Toho Koto Society of Washington, DC and songs by the Washington Japanese Choral Society. The Joint Armed Forces Color Guard of the Military District of Washington, DC presents the colors.
The Japanese Stone Lantern, stands 8.5 feet tall and weighing 4,000 pounds, was carved nearly four centuries ago to honor the Third Shogun of the Tokugawa period. In 1954, the lantern was presented to Washington, DC as a gift commemorating the 100th anniversary of America’s first treaty with Japan.
Since then, the Stone Lantern is lit once each year by the Princess representing the Embassy of Japan, and only during the Cherry Blossom Festival. It stands 50 feet east of the first two cherry blossom trees planted by First Lady Helen Taft.
Seating opens at 2:30pm and the ceremony begins at 3:00pm.