Check out these gorgeous Japan's Top 3 Tanabata Festivals

Check out these gorgeous Japan's Top 3 Tanabata Festivals
The Tanabata Festival is held on July 7, the day when Princess Orihime and Hikoboshi can meet each other once a year.
Various Tanabata festivals are held in many places around this time of year, but did you know that there are also "Three Great Tanabata Festivals" in Japan"?

In this article, we would like to introduce three major Tanabata festivals in Japan:
the Sendai Tanabata Festival, the Shonan Hiratsuka Tanabata Festival, and the Textile Thanksgiving Ichinomiya Tanabata Festival.

1. Sendai Tanabata Festival | Miyagi Prefecture

Sendai Tanabata Festival (Matsuri)

|The original Tanabata Festival! Over 3,000 gorgeous bamboo grass decorations

Date Masamune, the daimyo (feudal lord) of Sendai, encouraged the Tanabata festival in order to improve the art skills of his children.

The Sendai Tanabata Festival has been succeeded for nearly 400 years since the time of Date Masamune,
and is said to be the original Tanabata Festival, now visited by more than 2 million people.
  • Sendai Tanabata Festival (Matsuri)
  • Sendai Tanabata Festival (Matsuri)
The highlight of the Sendai Tanabata Festival is the "bamboo grass decorations" that are handmade every year.

Giant bamboos more than 10 meters long are decorated with spherical shape models made of paper with the image of animals, and decorative balloons - Mari. The event takes place in front of Sendai Station and the arcades of Central and Ichibancho Streets.

It is a Sendai Tanabata tradition to decorate a set of five bamboo branches with these ornaments.
  • Sendai Tanabata Festival (Matsuri)
  • Sendai Tanabata Festival (Matsuri)
Over 3,000 bamboo grass decorations swaying in the wind are graceful and refreshing. The size, beauty, decorations amount,
and passion of the creators are all overwhelming.
  • Sendai Tanabata Festival (Matsuri)
  • Sendai Tanabata Festival (Matsuri)
Another feature of the Sendai Tanabata Festival is the "Nanatsu Kazari ," or "seven decorations,"
which are decorated with wishes of various kinds.

The wishes are for tanzaku (to improve one's skills in studies and calligraphy), kamiko
(to ward off illness and misfortune, and to improve one's sewing skills), orizuru (for safety and long life), kinchaku (for prosperous business), toami (for good harvests),
kuzukago (cleanliness and modesty), fukinagashi (improvement of craftsmanship),
these are 7 main wishes decorated with gorgeous streamers.

During the festival, there are many events unique to Tanabata in Sendai, such as an exhibition about the history of Tanabata,
a hands-on experience of making Tanabata decorations, and stalls selling delicious gourmet foods from Miyagi Prefecture.

The word "gorgeous" is the most appropriate for this festival, where you can enjoy a spectacular Tanabata experience.
【Date and time】August 6, 2022 ( Sat ) - August 8, 2022 ( Mon )

2. The Shonan Hiratsuka Tanabata Festival | Kanagawa Prefecture

Shonan Hiratsuka Tanabata Festival

|Japan's largest bamboo decoration! Participate in the parade of 1,000 people and enjoy the festival to the fullest!

The Shonan Hiratsuka Tanabata Festival was held in 1951 as a postwar commercial promotion measure. Today, it has become a citizen-participatory Tanabata Festival held throughout the entire Hiratsuka city.
Shonan Hiratsuka Tanabata Festival
The main attraction of this festival is the gorgeous bamboo decorations, which are said to be the best in Japan.
Shonan Hiratsuka Tanabata Festival
The shopping arcade will be filled with approximately 500 bamboo decorations, especially in the main "Shonan Star Mall" where large decorations over 10 meters high and gorgeous bamboo elements incorporating some characters and animals that have attracted much attention recently will be on display.
Shonan Hiratsuka Tanabata Festival
At night, the bamboo decorations are lit up, creating a fantastic atmosphere

By the way, the Japanese Windsock is made of rain- and wind-resistant vinyl instead of Japanese paper, making the colors more vivid when the light falls through it.
Shonan Hiratsuka Tanabata Festival
The "Orihime and Musicians Parade" and the "Tanabata Odori Parade of 1,000 People" are as spectacular as the bamboo decorations.
The "Orihime and Musicians Parade" is a grand event you can not miss. Here you can also enjoy this joyful atmosphere with local
university brass bands, cheerleading squads, elementary school marching bands, local dance teams, and others.

The "Tanabata Odori Parade" is a massive parade of about 1,000 dancing people, including dance organizations, local businesses, students, and nursery school children, all dressed up in elaborate yukata (light cotton kimono) and props.

Not many people get a chance to participate in a parade of 1,000 people. So feel free to join in and have some fun with us!
Shonan Hiratsuka Tanabata Festival
The Hiratsuka Tanabata Festival is also famous for its many stalls, around 400 in total.

There will be a wide variety of booths from entertainment such as goldfish scooping and haunted houses to restaurants where you can enjoy standard menus and foreign cuisine. Visitors and participants alike can enjoy watching, eating, dancing, and being moved by the passion and spirit of Hiratsuka citizens.
【Venue】JRAll areas in the city centering on the shopping district at the north exit of Hiratsuka Station (mainly in Beniya-cho, Hiratsuka City)
【Date】July 8 (Fri), 2022 - July 10 (Sun), 2022 *Close at 19:00 (until 17:00 on the last day)
【Access】2 min. walk from JR Hiratsuka Station North Exit
【Web site】

3.Textile Thanksgiving Ichinomiya Tanabata Festival | Aichi Prefecture

Thanksgiving Ichinomiya Tanabata Festival | Aichi Prefecture

|Onzo (robe) consecration procession is a must-see! A festival dedicated to the textile gods

This festival is a traditional event in Ichinomiya City, Aichi Prefecture, which is famous for its rich textile industry. Citizens thank the gods of fabrics and make good wishes for the prosperity of the textile industry.

The festival is held throughout the entire city for four days starting from Thursday, the last Sunday in July, and attracts approximately 1.2 million visitors, making it a summer tradition in Ichinomiya.
Thanksgiving Ichinomiya Tanabata Festival | Aichi Prefecture
The highlight of Ichinomiya's Tanabata Festival is also the "blowing streamer decorations. The main shopping street of the festival is decorated with blow-up decorations, ranging from traditional to original, their huge sizes give a powerful appearance.
Thanksgiving Ichinomiya Tanabata Festival | Aichi Prefecture
During the exhibition, a wide range of events such as Yosakoi dance, drum and fife corps, brass bands, folk songs, and pop music will be held on a daily basis.

The largest of these parades is the "Onzo Dedication Procession," a 300-meter-long procession going to the Masumida Shrine, devoting the Ichinomiya City's traditional woolen fabrics.
Thanksgiving Ichinomiya Tanabata Festival | Aichi Prefecture
▲ Masumida Shrine
The parade of people dressed in samurai clothes, kamishimo (old ceremonial garb), and kimono, performing Mikagura (Shinto music and dance), makes you feel as if you have stepped back in time to the era of the imperial court nobles.

There are many other events open to the public, such as the "Wassho Ichinomiya" parade with free choreography and costumes to the theme song and competition for the top prize.

This is a festival that will never get out of style.
Honmachi Shopping Street: 1-3 Honmachi, Ichinomiya City
Meitetsu Ichinomiya Station: 1-1-1 Shinsei, Ichinomiya City
Masumida Shrine: 1-2-1 Masumida, Ichinomiya City
【Date】 July 28 (Thu) - July 31 (Sun), 2022
【Access】Get off at JR "Owari Ichinomiya Station" or "Meitetsu Ichinomiya Station" on Meitetsu line
【Web site】
The tradition of the Tanabata festival is protected by local people, their strong feelings, and love. Please come and enjoy the spirit of the local citizens as well as the beautiful Tanabata decorations.
This article was updated on 6/16/2022 (ZEKKEI Japan editorial department)

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