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Lanterns Header BON12

On the last night of Obon, visiting ancestors are believed to depart for the otherworld
on a journey illuminated by farewell fires – floating paper lanterns, each lit by a single candle. This ceremony is known as tōrō nagashi.  At Morikami’s Bon Festival, visitors write messages to loved ones who have passed away on hundreds of handcrafted paper lanterns. As part of tōrō nagashi and in keeping with Japanese tradition, we
send paper boats lit aflame, shoryobune, with messages written on paper slips, tanzaku, to the spirits of the deceased.


lantern header

lantern obonLantern sleeves - $10 each

Lantern sleeves go on sale at the start of Bon Festival. Each of close to 1,000 lanterns is hand-assembled by Morikami volunteers and staff the day of the festival.

Limited quantities are available and cannot be purchased in advance. Lanterns sell out each and every year, so be sure to purchase yours early!


Tanzaku Slips - $1 each

Tanzaku slips adorn our shoryobune, meaning “boat for the spirits of the deceased.” The shoryobune is hand-crafted and decorated out of straw, wood and paper.

During the lantern floating ceremony, the shoryobune is filled with tanzaku slips collected from visitors. Like our floating lanterns, the shoryobune flames symbolically guide the visiting spirits back to the otherworld



Social Media Lantern - FREE

 Write a message to a loved one passed on our Social Media Lantern and experience the magic of Bon Festival, even if you can’t join us.

This year for the first time ever, we will present a Social Media Lantern, featuring messages collected from our online community to loved ones lost. We will display the lantern at Bon Festival, covered with messages from fans and followers. Send your message through Facebook or via Twitter with #mylantern by August 10 to participate.