Tanabata: Japan’s star festival

04 Jul 2018 in Discover Japan

All you need to know about the colourful Tanabata Matsuri – one of Japan’s biggest summer festivals!

Best known as the Star Festival, Tanabata is Japan’s celebration of the once-yearly meeting of the stars Vega and Altair. The festivities kick off on July 7, although the date varies around the country depending on whether the lunar or Gregorian calendar is used.


Why celebrate the coming-together of two stars? According to legend, the stars represent the lovers Orihime, a talented weaver, and Hikoboshi, a cow herder, who were exiled to far ends of the Milky Way for neglecting their duties. Only once a year are they allowed to briefly reunite.

Tanabata is a colourful affair, with a dazzling array of decorations all imbued with special meaning. Bright streamers represent threads for those hoping to become better weavers.


Folded origami cranes are for longevity, while net-like amikazari are hung by fishermen hoping for a good catch.



If you’d like to wish for something else, you can write your request on a colourful strip of paper known as a tanzaku, which is then attached to a bamboo branch for the best chances of fulfilment.


The most famed Tanabata is held August 6-8 in Sendai, an easy day trip from Hoshino Resorts Bandaisan Onsen Hotel.


You can expect spectacular parades, music, dance, fireworks and food stalls proffering long thin noodles known as sōmen.


The highlight, though, is a trip to Sendai’s shopping malls – where you’ll be immersed in a thicket of colourful streamers, each lovingly handcrafted by the local community using bamboo and washi paper.




Japonais garden with water

The ancient art of Japanese gardens

22 Jul 2016 in Discover Japan

Find out about the art, history, and elegance of Japanese gardens which really inspires lovers of Zen-like nature. Read more

Ashinoko Lake

Discover the Hakone region in Japan by travelling an incredible historic road

09 Sep 2016 in Discover Japan

Discover the Hakone region in Japan by following the footsteps of great lords along a historical and legendary road. Read more


5 reasons to love Hoshino Resorts KAI Aso hotel!

03 Feb 2017 in Discover Japan

When you've read this article, you’ll have only one thought on your mind: to discover the island of Kyushu and Hoshino Resorts KAI Aso! Read more


Geicko in Kyoto

Are Geikos what we really think they are?

15 Jul 2016 in Discover Japan

Being a Geiko is demanding profession and the path to achieving excellence is long. Find out about the role of these women with red lips and whose faces are whitened with rice powder.... Read more


Japan for the under 30s

03 Jan 2020 in Discover Japan

Discover special deals and hotels designed for travellers in their 20s and early 30s. Read more


Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route

04 May 2018 in Discover Japan

From corridors of snow to floral pastures and a vertiginous ropeway, discover Japan’s most spectacular mountain route! Read more

most popular articles