French drawing room at Hillwood


Enjoy enriching and educational programming year-round.

Tanabata: The Japanese Star Festival

Japanese-style garden hardstone path surrounded by red and green foliageTanabata, 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.  

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 picnic on the spacious Lunar Lawn. Sandwiches, drinks, and snacks are available for purchase from Merriweather To Go
  • 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
  • While here, be sure to explore our newest exhibition, Grace of Monaco: Princess in Dior

The program highlights Hillwood’s Japanese-style garden and is presented in partnership with the Japan-America Society of Washington DC.  


5:30-7 p.m. 

  • Enjoy Hillwood’s mansion, gardens, greenhouse, and the Grace of Monaco: Princess in Dior exhibition.   
  • Merriweather To Go and museum shop open         
  • Picnicking on the Lunar Lawn     
  • Paper lantern-decorating and 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 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. 

Click here to see how Hillwood is following the latest health and safety guidance. 


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

Japanese-style garden hardstone path and green conifers, family of three looking at waterfall
Japanese-style garden, tanzaku hanging on bamboo
Japanese-style Garden Bridge hardstone path red maples and green conifers