Shitamachi Tanabata Festival


When: 03/07/15 - 08/07/15: All Day

Where: Kappabashi Hon-dori, Asakusa Station

Tanabata is perhaps the most colorful time of the year, even more so than cherry blossom season in Tokyo—for a few weeks in early July, strips of paper in bright tones adorn bamboo branches and trees all across the city.

Tanabata is a star festival, and like most Japanese festivals, it’s based on a legend. The story is about two lovers, Orihime and Hikoboshi, who were separated by the Milky Way, but who were allowed to see each other once a year, on July 7th. The legend states that if the sky is clear on Tanabata, there is a bridge formed by birds across the Milky Way and the lovers can meet, but if it rains, they won’t…

Tanabata falls on July 7 every year, but you can catch the colorful strips of paper for a few days before and after the 7th, and even write your own wish on them. Although you can find the bamboo wish trees at most local shrines and temples, the best way to soak in the festival vibes is to head out to Asakusa’s Kappabashi, where countless vendors and stalls are awaiting you with trinkets and fried foods.

The area already has a traditional feel, and it looks even more vibrant and lively with the colorful streamers, parades, and street performances that will be happening over the weekend, on July 4-5.

Shitamachi Tanabata Festival

More information:

How much: Free

Image: Daniel Welch

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