On the 7th day of the 7th month – which happens to be this Saturday – the lovers Orihime and Hikoboshi cross the vastness of the Milky Way for their once a year trist – as long as it doesn’t rain. Anyway, it’s a good excuse to bust out the yukata for a festival. There will be various related events throughout Tokyo and surrounding areas.
One event that will attract a big crowd is ‘Light Up Nippon Tanabata Matsuri’ at Tokyo Midtown on both Saturday and Sunday. The objective is to raise money to send fireworks to cheer the people still suffering the after effects from last year’s earthquake and tsunami. There will likely be lots of Tanabata type activities like writing wishes on small pieces of paper and tying them to bamboo branches as well as festival food and refreshments.
The big daddy of Tanabata events is held this weekend in Sendai. However, it has a little brother in Kanto – The Hiratsuka Tanabata Festival (about a 1 hour journey south from Tokyo station on the Tokaido Line) is officially the second biggest Tanabata festival in the country. The festival features various floats and decorations and runs from the 6th to the 8th of July and will attract a couple of million visitors – so prepare for some big crowds if you go. You can find more info at this rather trippy site maintained by a Tanabata enthusiast (now archived).
Image above by Leonard Chien used under a Creative Commons license.