Water Consolatory Service and Lantern Floating

August 16, 2011
Lake Kawaguchi, Japan

On August 16, 2011, the Head Priest of Shinnyo-en, Her Holiness Shinso Ito, performed the annual Water Consolatory Service at the Shinchoji Annex temple on the shores of Lake Kawaguchi, Yamanashi prefecture, as part of the traditional Japanese celebration of obon honoring departed loved ones and ancestors. In the evening, lanterns were set afloat on the lake from a public venue. Lantern floating was first held at Shinnyo-en in 1936, when the Shinnyo founders set paper lanterns afloat on a small stream near Oyasono to honor the passing of their son. The service in its present form began in 1952 at Lake Kasumigaura, Ibaraki prefecture, and then expanded as it moved to its present location at Lake Kawaguchi in 1988.

At the Water Consolatory Service, Shinso Ito explains the history of this annual event held at Lake Kawaguchi in Yamanashi prefecture, Japan. Each year after the service, a lantern floating is held; this was the forerunner of a similar event now held yearly in Honolulu, Hawaii. Spiritual consolation services are held and lanterns floated on bodies of water to honor the memory of those who have passed away.