What is Tanabata?
Tanabata is a traditional festival where people write their wishes on a strip of colorful paper and hang it on a bamboo. There is a well known myth behind the whole Tanabata festival. The story is about a woman called Orihime, the daughter of the god of heaven, and a man called Hikoboshi who were in love with each other, but were separated by Orihime's parents, and were only allowed to meet once a year, on the 7th of July, which we now call it "Tanabata no hi (Tanabata Day)".
Orihime and Hikoboshi are referred to as stars that actually exist in the sky, and they are the stars shining the brightest on the 7th of July. In between these two stars, there is the milky way, which referred to "Amano-gawa", where Orihime and Hikoboshi get to see each other.
In some parts of Japan, it is told that they would not be able to see each other if it rains on the Tanabata day.
There is no definite evidence of how Sendai Tanabata has started, but it is told that it existed in the beginning of Edo era, which is around the 1600s. It used to be a big event, but due to the impact of Meiji Revolution, the Great Depression, and the WWII, the tradition of Tanabata festival has gradually faded out. However, people in Sendai came as one and made Sendai Tanabata Festival to revive. Now it is enjoyed by wide range of people in Sendai.
Tanabata in Japan is on July 7th, but this festival is taking place a month later, from August 6th to 8th in 2017.
How to Enjoy Sendai Tanabata Festival
Here's a quick guide to help make your Sendai Tanabata Festival visit a little more special and unforgettable!
1. Sasa Kazari
These long decoration is called "Sasa-kazari", literally meaning "bamboo grass decor", is around 10m length, and hang from the ceiling in a set of 5. They are all hand-made, thoroughly made by each company sponsoring the festival. The sphere shaped decoration on top resembles prayer for WWII as well.
2. Omatsuri Hiroba
Omatsuri Hiroba is a space where they hold numbers of exciting and energetic events! You can watch passionate taiko (Japanese drum) performance and awa-odori, a traditional Japanese summer dance, as well as a booth where you can write your own love-related wishes on a wooden card and hang it at the spot. The wishes will be dedicated to Fujisaka Shrine in Sendai.
Of course, there are so many Yatai (food stalls) at the festival too! They have Sendai's famous dish, Gyu-tan (beef tongue) and many more food that can be only eaten in the Tohoku region of Japan. Check out the link below for more information on commonly eaten festival food in Japan.
Aside from popular festival food, they also have unique food like this! This is a shaved ice with alcohol drink! Isn't it beyond perfect for summer festival?
On August 5th, before Sendai Tanabta Festival begins, fireworks festival will be held at Sendai Nishi-Kouen area. The fireworks will be displayed for about an hour and half, attracting the audience with its fascinating and beautiful fireworks.
Date: 2017/8/5 (Sat)
Time: 7:00-8:30 pm
Address: Around the area of Sendai Nishi-kouen, Aoba-ku, Sendai-shi, Miyagi
In the case of rain, it will be postponed to 2017/8/9 (Wed).
Have an unforgettable summer festival at Sendai Tanabata Festival!
Address: Kotodai Park: 3-9 Honmachi, Aoba-ku, Sendai-shi, Miyagi
Access: Just a few minute walk from JR Sendai station to Chuo-dori (where you can see Tanabata decorations hanging from the ceiling), less than a minute walk from Kotodai-koen station to Kotodai Park (where Omatsuri Hiroba is).