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Lantern Festival: In The Spirit Of Obon

Enjoy Japanese folk-dancing, drumming, our Ennichi street fair and iconic lantern floating ceremony in a fall festival in the spirit of Obon – Japan’s summer homage to ancestors who return for a brief visit to the living.

Saturday, October 17, 2015 from 3-8pm*

*Festival opens for members only at 2pm, and the general public at 3pm, the museum and gardens will be closed prior to 2pm.

Lantern Festival tickets must be purchased in advance. No tickets will be sold at the gate. Members must have purchased tickets, and will have access to the festival one hour earlier than the general public, from 2-3pm. Check out the member tab on this page for full member benefits at Lantern Festival.
Priority Access For Members

  • Early admission
  • Members-only Taiko performance
  • Early bird lantern sales
  • Members-only sake selection

Priority Access for Members Only!

While Morikami members do not receive free admission to the event, members will have priority access to the festival one hour before the regular admission time. For questions, please email Interested in becoming a member? Join the Morikami family today!

Members-Only Priority Access Lets You Enjoy:

  • Early bird lantern sales (limitied quantities available)
  • Access to the festival one hour early
  • Members-only taiko show by Fushu Daiko
  • Please note: only current members (with valid member ID’s effective Oct. 17, 2015) may take advantage of members-only festival access, between 2 and 3pm. Any guests attending with you must be covered by your membership to enter the festival during this time.

About Member Pre-Sale Tickets:

  • Members may purchase tickets during member pre-sale (Aug. 1-31) or during general admission sales (Sept. 1 until event sell-out). Members will not be able to attend Lantern Festival without purchasing tickets. 
  • Adult pre-sale tickets for members are $10 for ages 11+, Children’s pre-sale tickets for members are $5 for ages 4-10 (Aug. 1-31)
  • Member pre-sale (Aug. 1-31) tickets are only for individuals covered by your membership – benefits are as follows:
    • Student Members: 1 Lantern Festival ticket
    • Educator Members: 1 Lantern Festival ticket + 2 child tickets
    • Individual Members: 1 Lantern Festival ticket
    • Dual Members: 2 adult Lantern Festival tickets + children/grandchildren included in your membership
    • Netsuke Members: 4 adult Lantern Festival tickets + children/grandchildren included in your membership
    • Taiko Members: 6 adult Lantern Festival tickets + children/grandchildren included in your membership
    • Samurai Members: 10 adult Lantern Festival tickets + children/grandchildren included in your membership
    • Wisdom Ring Members: 22 adult Lantern Festival tickets + children/grandchildren included in your membership
  • ALL tickets will be sold online and in advance. You MUST provide your member number for verification at checkout during member pre-sale (Aug. 14-31). Tickets will NOT be sold at the event.
  • Lantern Festival is a rain or shine event on Oct. 17, 2015
  • Tickets are sent to the email address provided and must be printed and presented at festival admission the day of the event.
  • Please contact our membership department if you have questions about how many tickets you may purchase during member pre-sale (Aug. 14-31).

Questions? Call or email our Membership Department at 561-495-0233 x 206

Members ONLY Pre-sale

August 1 – August 31, 2015

  • $10/adults (ages 11+)
  • $5/children (ages 4-10)
  • FREE for children 3 and under

Members that purchase general admission tickets (September 1 – sell out) may still take advantage of our members-only hour on the day of the event. Please visit the “For Members” tab on this page for details. Interested in becoming a member? Join us!

General Admission

September 1, 2015 until the event sells out

  • $15/adults (ages 11+)
  • $10/children (ages 4-10)
  • FREE for children 3 and under

Please note: NO tickets will be sold at the gate. You must purchase tickets online in advance either during member pre-sale (Aug. 1-31) or during general admission sales (Sept. 1 until event sell out).

About your ticket purchase

Get your tickets early! Lantern Festival is our largest festival, welcoming about 6,000 visitors in one night. Buy your tickets early, as this event will sell out!

  • Tickets are non-refundable
  • Group, student and senior discounts are not available for this event.
  • Lantern Festival is a rain or shine event.
  • Tickets are sent to the email address provided and must be printed and presented at festival admission the day of the event.

Lantern sleeves – $10 each

Lantern sleeves for the Toro Nagashi (lantern floating) ceremony go on sale at the start of Lantern Festival. Each of almost 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, please note – we cannot allow guests to bring and float their own lanterns. Lanterns sell out each and every year, so be sure to purchase yours early! This year, members will enjoy priority access to the festival including a limited quantity of early bird lantern sales.

About Toro Nagashi

 Obon is one of the most important holidays in Japanese culture, and is a time of year when families welcome the spirits of the ancestors into their homes for a brief visit among their living descendants. On the last day of the three-day observance, families gather with the community to light the way back to the otherworld for the departing ancestors with floating lanterns called toro nagashi, or with large fires lit on the slopes of nearby mountains since the otherworld is traditionally regarded as lying beyond the sea or mountains. The ancestors are believed to depart for the otherworld guided by the illuminated lanterns and farewell fires. Each year Morikami celebrates Lantern Festival: In the Spirit of Obon with 1,000 handmade toro nagashi, each one with bearing inscription from our guests.

shoryobune step-2

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.

About Tanzaku Slips and the Shoryobune

A shoryobune is a traditional, boat-shaped “lantern” made of straw, wood and paper. They are usually set ablaze, which is why they are thought of as lanterns, although they are often festooned with hanging paper lanterns as well. Shoryobune means boat for the spirits of the deceased. In George Morikami’s hometown of Miyazu, shoryobune are festooned with decorations of colorful paper bunting in addition to paper lanterns. The boats usually have a sail with an inscription down the middle reading, “Gokuraku-Maru”. Gokuraku refers to the paradise that is the otherworld, while maru is a common suffix for the names of ships in Japan.  Families who have experienced deaths in the past year may float these elaborately decorated boats to transport their recently deceased to the other side for the first time. At Lantern Festivla: In the Spirit of Obon, our shoryoubune is filled with tanzaku slips from our guests. These slips are inscribed with messages, and become part of the guiding light of the shoryobune.

Festival celebrations across the world culminate in lively street celebrations. Morikami’s ennichi street fair features kids’ games, food and shopping.


Browse an array of Japanese items from some of the best vendors Morikami has to offer. From bonsai and tea to spices and Japanese snacks, there’s something for everyone! Vendors do not necessarily accept credit cards. ATMs are available on site.


As the Japanese saying goes “shokuyoku no aki” – Fall is the season for eating,  and we are proud to bring you a variety of traditional Japanese fall flavors including  sweet potatoes, roasted nuts and fried tofu. Additionally, street fair foods we’re sure you already know and love will be available throughout the evening!


Try your hand at one of our traditional Japanese festival games, or participate in some of our uniquely-fall activities. We’ll also offer great kids’ activities and entertainment for all ages throughout the evening.

Lantern Festival features rousing taiko drum performances by Fushu Daiko, kids’ activities, traditional Japanese folk dancing and an ennichi street fair. At the end of the evening, visitors watch hundreds of paper lanterns – each lit by a single candle – dot Morikami Lake, against a sky of fireworks.

Lantern Festival Entertainment Schedule

Matsuri Stage

Japanese Folk-Dancing by Chitose Kai

  • 3:45
  • 4:45
  • 6:15

Taiko Drumming by Fushu Daiko

  • 2:45 – Members Only!
  • 4:00
  • 5:30
  • 7:00

Morikami Lake

Lantern Floating

  • 7:30

Fireworks Display

  • 8:00
Bon Odori dancersFushu DaikoLanterns drift out over Lake Morikami

 Food and Beverage Tickets

In order to accomodate the large amount of guests at the festival, festival food vendors, the beer garden and sake station accept only food and beverage tickets as payment. Food and beverage tickets are available for purchase on festival grounds. Each ticket is equal to $1 and may be purchased by cash or credit card. ATMs are also available on site. The Cornell Café accepts food and beverage tickets in addition to cash or credit cards.

Kirin Beer Garden

Stop by our Kirin Beer Garden, located on festival grounds features one of Japan’s most prominent and respected breweries, and among the top ten brewers in the world.  Its history dates back to 1888 and in that time, the name Kirin has become synonymous in Japan and around the world with beer of the highest quality. Choose from a selection of Kirin Light or Kirin Ichiban available in bottles and on draft.

Cornell Café

The open-air café serves Pan-Asian classics on a terrace overlooking the gardens. The Cornell Café will offer an abridged a-la-carte menu during the festival, but on regular days you can try any of the full menu’s delectable offerings. Check back soon for the full festival menu.

Sake Station

Our Sake Station offers a variety of premium Japanese sake as well as tasting notes, and sakes you might not find anywhere else in South Florida. Can’t choose just one? Our sake flight lets you try three!

Festival Food Vendors

On festival grounds, enjoy a variety of Pan-Asian and all-American favorites, including some Japanese-inspired fall flavors, cooked on site by our festival food vendors. Check back soon to view the full festival menu, and prices for each item.


Volunteers get an exciting inside look into Morikami’s festivals, and ensure the success of each and every one of our events! Lantern Festival Volunteer applications are now closed, but check out the festival volunteers page for details about other opportunities!

Festival Volunteer Info


Lantern Festival sponsors reach our diverse and sophisticated group of visitors. We offer one-of-a-kind and customizable sponsorship opportunities at each level of commitment. Interested in becoming a Lantern Festival sponsor? Contact us at 561-495-0233 x 226.

Become a Vendor

Each year, we accept only a limited number of vendors for this event (about 8-10) on an invitation-only basis. This year’s invitations have already gone out! If you were invited to participate and would prefer to apply online, please access the form below:

Online Vendor Application

Keep in Touch

Our social media community gets the latest scoop on Lantern Festival and a chance to win free tickets! Join our community on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, and Pinterest for all the latest!

The Basics

  1. What’s the difference between Lantern Festival and Bon Festival? In an effort to protect the safety of Morikami visitors and staff, we moved Bon Festival out of the often inclement and even dangerous Florida summer months. This meant re-imagining the event as a fall, rather than summer, festival. Read more about this at our blog.
  2. How can I buy tickets to Lantern Festival? Tickets are ONLY available online and may be purchased here beginning August 1 (member pre-sale) and September 1 (general admission). Tickets will NOT be available at the gate. Please visit our ticket page for full pricing schedule. Tickets are expected to sell out.
  3. When do the gates open and close? The event gates open at 3pm* and close at 8pm. *Members will have priority access to the festival from 2pm-3pm.
  4. Where are you located? We are located at 4000 Morikami Park Road in Delray Beach, just off of Jog Road between Linton Boulevard and Clint Moore Road. Click here to view map and directions.
  5. What happens if it rains? We are here rain or shine! Though the main museum building will be open for the evening, Lantern Festival takes place primarily outdoors. Be prepared to walk over grass and gravel. Lantern Festival is subject to Florida weather. Though the event starts in the cooler late afternoon, please remember to drink plenty of water and wear plenty of sunblock and bug spray to make your visit more comfortable. The Morikami Museum Store will have paper fans, bug wipes, cold bottled water, ponchos, and sunblock available for purchase the day of the festival.
  6. Do you have activities for kids? Yes, there will be children’s activities and field games for the young (and the young at heart!) to enjoy.
  7. Do you have first-aid available? Yes, first-aid will be available on site and indicated in the event program map.
  8. Do you provide wheelchairs for guests? Unfortunately, we are unable to provide wheelchairs for guests at Lantern Festival. We encourage guests in need of wheelchairs to bring their own on festival days. Though the main museum building will be open for the evening, Lantern Festival takes place primarily outdoors. Be prepared to walk over grass and gravel. Outdoor entertainment is wheelchair accessible.
  9. Do you accept credit cards at Lantern Festival? Credit cards are accepted at the food & beverage ticket station, Lantern Sales, the Museum Store and the Cornell Café. However, the cash only lines move more quickly than the credit lines as our credit card machines rely on remote satellite signal. We suggest bringing plenty of cash or using one of the on-site ATM machines. There are two located on site and indicated in the event program map.
  10. Can I purchase a lantern in advance? Lanterns cannot be purchased in advance. Lanterns can only be purchased at the event and cost $10 each (payable by cash or credit).
  11. Is the museum open the day of Lantern Festival? On Saturday, October 17, the museum will be closed until the event start time as we prepare for the festival.
  12. Are the gardens and museum open? Yes! On festival day you can experience the gardens and museum PLUS all of the other activities we have planned for this special day.  However, the grounds will remain closed until the event opens for members at 2pm and general admission at 3pm.
  13. Can I bring my pet? Unfortunately, pets are not allowed inside the festival grounds, museum or gardens.  Documented service animals are permitted, but must be leashed at all times, as per the Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control Ordinance.

For Members

  1. Do members get in free? In an effort to improve your Lantern Festival experience by gathering an accurate count of visitors and further limiting admission to the festival, Morikami members will not receive free admission to the event. However, members have access to a limited amount of deeply discounted tickets before they go on sale to the public (member pre-sale from Aug. 1-31), and priority access to the festival one hour before the regular admission time. More details are available on the Members tab on this page or, for questions, please email
  2. If I’m a member, do my guests get in free? If you’re a member and plan to bring guests to Lantern Festival, guests MUST purchase their tickets in advance. Please note that guests who are not covered by your membership must purchase general admission tickets, and will not be allowed in during the hour of member priority access. Tickets will NOT be available for purchase at the gate. Learn more about members’ priority access on the Members tab on this page.
  3. What is priority access? Priority access allows members to enter the festival one hour early (from 2pm-3pm) and enjoy special members only benefits like early bird lantern sales and a kick-off taiko performance. Please visit the Members tab on this page to learn more.
  4. When is member pre-sale? Member pre-sale begins August 1 and ends August 31. During this time members may purchase discounted tickets for themselves and any guests covered by their membership level. Once this pre-sale has ended members may purchase general admission tickets for themselves and their guests at the general admission ticket price. Purchased member tickets are non-refundable and non-transferable. You must show your valid member ID at the admissions gate when you arrive at Lantern Festival.
  5. Can I become a member at the festival? Yes, if you join at the festival you get 10% off your membership, however, purchasing a membership does not grant you access to Lantern Festival. You must purchase tickets in advance, as there will be NO tickets sold at the gate. If you’ve purchased lantern festival tickets and would like to become a member after the event, you will be able to apply the cost of your festival tickets to a membership. Full membership benefits can be found here.

Tickets And Pricing

  1. What do I need to bring to get in to Lantern Festival? Please bring a print-out of the ticket that was sent to you via email.
  2. Do kids get in free? Children 3 and under are admitted free. You must purchase a child ticket for anyone ages 4-10, or an adult ticket for anyone age 11 and over online in advance. Tickets are not available for purchase at the gate.
  3. Do you have group, student, senior citizen or military discounts for tickets? Sorry, no discounts are offered for festival admission.
  4. Can I get a refund for my online ticket if I can’t attend? Unfortunately, ticket sales are final and non-refundable. General admission tickets are transferable so you can give them to someone else – please make sure they bring with them, the actual print out of the ticket.  Member tickets, are non-refundable and non-transferable because member ID’s are checked at the admissions gate.
  5. How does parking work and how much does it cost? Parking is FREE and our on-site staff will direct you to an available space.
  6. Is there handicap parking? Yes, handicap parking is available. Please bring your handicap decal and display it visibly on your rearview mirror. Though the main museum building will be open for the evening, Lantern Festival takes place primarily outdoors. Be prepared to walk over grass and gravel. Outdoor entertainment is wheelchair accessible.

Food And Drink

  1. Can I bring my own food and beverages? We do not allow any coolers on the festival grounds. However, we have plenty of food and beverage vendors inside the festival.
  2. Do you sell alcohol? Yes, we have beer, wine, plum wine and sake available on-site. We will have an on-site Sake Station next to our Kirin Beer Garden.
  3. Will the Cornell Café be open? Yes, the Cornell Café is open and serving from a special festival menu.
  4. What kind of food is available on the grounds? Pan-Asian and American, as well as Japanese street fair favorites will be available. To find out more about what you can expect to see at a traditional ennichi street fair, check out the ennichi street fair tab on this page.