Candle-lit lanterns floating across a pond on a warm moonlit night? Yes, please! This toro nagashi ceremony is held at the temple that sits on an island in Tokyo’s Shinobazu Pond. It signals the end of annual O-bon festivities—the three days in summer when the spirits of ancestors come back to check on the living.
There are many toro nagashi ceremonies around Japan in mid-August. This one at the Shinobazu Pond is the earliest one in Tokyo, but the biggest one happens a little later, where anyone can buy a lantern for ¥1500 and launch it into the Sumida River at the Sumida River Park.