The massive shrine gate illuminated during the Kitano Tanabata Festival

Celebration of the Star Festival in Kitano Tenmangu Shrine
The event called Tanabata (Star) Festival takes place on July 7th in Japan. It relates to a romantic folk tale telling the story of the couple stars, the Lyre and Altair of Aquila that can only meet once a year on the night of July 7th (this day is called “Tanabata”). On this day, people of all ages will write their wishes on a strip of paper called “Tanzaku” and hang them on bamboo trees placed around shrines and other locations, as it is believed that the wishes will be granted. In summer, there are many events to celebrate this Star Festival in Japan.

During the summer, numerous events celebrating the Star Festival are held in Japan. In Kyoto, the “Kyo no Tanabata (Star Festival of Kyoto)” is held for 2 weeks at the beginning of August as it conforms to the date “Tanabata” was held in the old calendar. There are many events around the city, such as nighttime illuminations in several places, Water Art Projection near the river, dancing performances by Maiko and so on. 

The above photo was taken at the Kitano Tenmangu Shrine where we enjoyed some Bon Odori (dancing) by Maiko and Geiko (In the nearby Kamishichiken Geisha District), concerts of Japanese drums and a nighttime illumination of bamboo trees and strip.  The illuminated shrine gate is simply magnificent at night.

Click on the photos to the right to see a large size slideshow of Maiko and Geiko dancing the Bon Odori, demonstration of Taiko (drums) and other photos taken on the shrine grounds.