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Tanabata

Tanabata, the Japanese Star Festival, celebrates the legend of Orihime, the weaver princess, and Hikoboshi, the herder, lovers separated by the Milky Way who are allowed to meet just once a year on one day during the summer months.

Hillwood and the Japan-America Society of Washington DC invite you to celebrate this festive holiday at Hillwood.

  • Explore the enchanting Japanese-style garden
  • Listen to fascinating tales by storyteller Tara McGowan, who brings Japan's famous Tanabata legend to life through story, song, and visual arts
  • Listen to delightful music, performed by the Washington Toho Koto Society
  • Write poems and special wishes on colorful strips of paper, called tanzaku, to hang on bamboo, following the traditional Japanese custom to celebrate Tanabata
  • Decorate a paper lantern, make paper ornaments, try your hand at Japanese calligraphy, and more

Please note: Performances take place rain or shine and are located inside the visitor center theater and conservatory. 

Schedule of Activities

Kamishibai Storytelling
10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m.

Koto Music
11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m.

Guided Tours of the Japanese-style Garden
11:10 a.m., 12:10 p.m., 1:10 p.m.

Tanzaku, Origami, Calligraphy, and Paper Lantern Decorating
10 a.m.-2 p.m.

This program is presented in partnership with the Japan-America Society of Washington DC