French drawing room at Hillwood


Enjoy enriching and educational programming year-round.

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Tanabata Celebration on the Lawn: The Japanese Star Festival

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 the seventh day of the seventh month.

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.
  • Bring a blanket or lawn chairs from home and enjoy a physically distanced picnic on the spacious Lunar Lawn. Sandwiches, drinks, and snacks are available for purchase from Merriweather To Go.
  • Pick up a kit to decorate a paper lantern, as you relax in your group’s physically distanced seating area on the lawn. 
  • Individually packaged kits of colorful strips of paper and writing materials will also be available for making tanzaku—special wishes and poems traditionally hung on bamboo for Tanabata. Take the materials to your physically distanced area on the lawn to write your tanzaku, then bring them over to hang on a potted bamboo “tree.”
  • While here, be sure to explore the outdoor sculpture exhibition, Kristine Mays: Rich Soil

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

Advanced reservations are recommended.


5:30-8 p.m.         Self-guided touring of Hillwood’s mansiongardensgreenhouseRich Soiland Roaring Twenties 
                                   Merriweather To Go and museum shop open 
                                   Picnicking on the Lunar Lawn 
                                   Paper lantern-decorating kits available
                                   Tanzaku-making kits available

7:15-8 p.m.         Outdoor concert by the Washington Toho Koto Society 


  • This program takes place outdoors, with limited capacity.
  • You must bring your own lawn chairs or picnic blankets for seating on the Lunar Lawn. Hillwood will not provide these shared materials. Visitors may wish to bring bug spray.
  • Picnicking is welcome at this event. Note our liquor license does not allow patrons to bring in outside alcohol.     
  • Food and drinks, including beer and wine, will be available from Merriweather To Go.
  • See our visitor guidelines for information about how we are following the latest local and national guidance. Pump hand-sanitizer will be available.


If inclement weather forces us to postpone, the event will be rescheduled on Thursday, July 8.  All registered participants will receive notice if the program is rescheduled by 3 p.m. on July 7. 

Please note that tickets are nonrefundable.

Tanzaku at Tanabata
Paper lanterns in the gardens
Paper lanterns