Annual Japanese Lantern Festival at Morikami sells out in record time

If you’re aching to see for yourself why the annual Lantern Festival at the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens sells out every year, you’ll have to wait until next year.

Tickets sold out in a record 13 days, according to the museum, for the Oct. 17 event. Tickets went on sale Sept. 1 (member could purchase them a month earlier) and sold out by Sunday. They will not be sold at the door.

The museum set up a ticket-swap on its Facebook page for those interested in buying tickets second-hand.

It’s little surprise the 38-year-old festival, inspired by centuries-old Japanese customs, quickly sells its limited 5,000 tickets.

See stunning photos of the Bon Festival

The five-hour event is set in the expansive and beautiful Japanese gardens with taiko drumming shows, folk dances, and a Kirin biergarten (just in time for Oktoberfest) and a sake station.

In years past, more than 9,000 people came out to the event and caused such a glut that the museum limited tickets to protect the tranquil experience.

At night fall, paper lanterns are lit and floated onto the pond in memory of loved ones who have died. The event is visually stunning.

Post photographer Thomas Cordy has shot multiple images at the Lantern Festival. He shares his advice on getting the most out of the experience:

Arrive early for a good parking spot, particularly if you’re carrying camera gear. (The Morikami, however, does not encourage the use of tripods.)

Pack insect repellent. “Bugs can be bad as the sun sets,” Cordy says.

Be respectful. Says Cordy, “People are there to remember dead family members.”

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