Tanabata, the Japanese Star Festival, celebrates the legend of Orihime, the weaver princess, and Hikoboshi, the herder. These lovers, separated by the Milky Way, are allowed to meet just once a year on the seventh day of the seventh month.

to 8:00 pm

Lunar Lawn, Hillwood Estate, Museum, and Gardens

Regular ticket: $20
Hillwood and JASWDC Members: $10
Student: $7
Child 6-18: $5
Free for children under 6

Thank you!

Enjoy a summer evening relaxing in Hillwood’s spectacular gardens, and take part in festive outdoor entertainment on Hillwood’s expansive Lunar Lawn:

  • Listen to delightful music performed outdoors on the Lunar Lawn by the Washington Toho Koto Society.
  • Explore the enchanting Japanese-style garden at Hillwood.
  • Try your hand at Japanese calligraphy and origami crafts.
  • Create and decorate your own paper lantern to take home.
  • Write poems and special wishes on colorful strips of paper, called tanzaku, to hang on bamboo, following the traditional Japanese custom to celebrate Tanabata.
  • Bring a blanket or lawn chairs from home and enjoy a picnic on the spacious Lunar Lawn. Sandwiches, drinks, and snacks are available for purchase from Merriweather To Go.
  • Join volunteers from the National Air and Space Museum to explore the constellations associated with the Tanabata legend through solar telescopes and sky maps
  • While at Hillwood, be sure to explore their newest exhibition, Fragile Beauty: Art of the Ocean.


5:30-7 p.m.

  • Enjoy Hillwood’s mansion, gardens, greenhouse, and the Fragile Beauty: Art of the Ocean exhibition.
  • Picnic on the Lunar Lawn.
  • Decorate paper lanterns, fold origami, practice calligraphy, and make tanzaku (paper wishes).

7-8 p.m. | Concert by the Washington Toho Koto Society.


  • Please bring your own picnic blankets or lawn chairs for seating on the lawn.
  • Picnicking is welcome at this event. Please note Hillwood’s liquor license does not allow patrons to bring in outside alcohol, but food and drinks, including beer and wine, will be available from Merriweather To Go.


In the case of inclement weather, all activities will be moved to indoor locations. All registered participants will receive notice if the program has moved indoors by 3 p.m. on Thursday, June 27.

*Please note that the rain plan may modify the locations and timing of events.