- Star festival in kyoto, or Tanabata
- What is Star festival, or Tanabata 七夕?
- 6 sites of Star festival 京の七夕会場
Star festival in kyoto, or Tanabata
In early August, star festivals (Tanabata in Japanese) are held in many places in Kyoto. In this article, let us learn what Tanabata is and Kyono Tanabata festival sites.
We cannot foresee whether Kyo no Tanabata will be held or not due to COVID-19
What is Star festival, or Tanabata 七夕?
Star festival is one of Gosekku. Gosekku are the five ceremonies or kind of rituals held in the Imperial court. The word Gosekku is divided two words. “Go” and “Sekku.” “GO” stands for five in Japanese and “Sekku” means an end of a season. The traditional Japanese custom developed into Sekku with the ancient Chinese custom. There are many Sekku in the Imperial court and especially important Sekku are called Gosekku. Let me show you each of them.
Nanakusa no Sekku 7th Jan. 七草の節句（1月7日）
It is also known as Jinjitsu no Sekku. We have rice gruel named Nanakusa gayu. Nanakusa gayu means “Gruel with Nanakusa.” Nanakusa means “seven vegetables.” The vegetables is believes that they give us good health for a year.
In addition to it, if we saw a white horse on the day, it guarantees good luck of the year. The custom was held in the Imperial court and we can see it at Kamigamo shrine on the day.
Mono no sekku 3rd Mar. 桃の節句
It is also known as Johshi no Sekku. We display Hina dolls on a kind of altar and wish young ladies for their growth in good health. The dolls in the fist picture is called Nagashi bina dolls. Ladies put evil things they have into the dolls and let it go on a stream. They goes the ocean on behalf of the ladies. (In traditonal Japanes way of thinking, water get rid of anything evil inside of us.)
The second picture is “Human hina dolls” in Ichihime shrine.
Tngo no Sekku 5th May 端午の節句
We wish young boys for their growth in good health. It is also known as Shobu no Sekku. Shobu is a plant in the second picture. It looks like sword and is believed dispel evil things. In traditonal Japanes way of thinking, sword conquers evil things. That is the reason why Naginata boko of Gion matsuri has a huge sword.
Tanabata no Sekku 7th July 七夕の節句
In the ancient times, Japanese people have a custom called Tanabata. In Tanabata, young ladies make kimono as a dedication to Shinto Deity and pray for rich cultivation and dispelling evil spirits.
On the other hand, there was a custom called Kikoten in ancient China. In Kikoden, people make an altar and put string, cloth, needle, and so on, on it to pray for improvement of handicraft to Vega.
In additon to it, ancient Chinese people believed Altair brought prosperity in agriculture.
They thought Vega and Altair meets on the 7th of July in the ancient Chinese lunar calender because these two stars shine so bright on the day.
These facts were put together and developed into Tanabana, or Star festival;
Vega and Altair meets each other on 7th of July (around 7th of August in Gregorian calender), and make wish upon these stars.
The custom to write wish on bamboo leaves was introduced in the Edo period. It is on bamboo decorated on Chinowa, the wreath get rid of evil sprits we have.
Kiku no Sekku 9th Sep. 菊の節句
In Omyodo, a traditinal Japanese philosophy in which we see the world in yin yang, odd number brings us good luck. We put a Chrysanthemum flower on a Sake cup and dirnk it and pray for good health.
6 sites of Star festival 京の七夕会場
Any information on this article is subjet to be altered. Check Kyono tanabata official site in English.
Horikawa area 堀川エリア
In 2019, Horikawa area reduced and is not large as the last year’s.
Site: Along with the Horikawa stream (From Shimodachiuri st. to Ichjyo modoribashi bridge.)
One way from south to north
Dates: 10th ～12th August
Open Hours 18:00～21:00
Crowded? Not sure because Horikawa area is not large as the last year.
Time required 1 hour～
Attention: The following photos, videos and information of Horikawa area are those of the last year.
I suppose we have only torch illumination along the stream.
As the official site says, there are live performances but I’m not sure what they are so far.
It’s tranquil this year.
Kyoto municipal subway COME BACK SPECIAL
Pet bottle lanterns
Live performance 18:00～ 18:45～
Maiko San dance performance 19:35～ 20:30～
With 300 jpy, we can take snapshots with Maiko-san!
The memory of the last year
The entrance is indicated in the map as a light blue alien.
It takes at least 1 hour from the entrance to Ichijyo modori bashi bridge (The last exit). We stroll along the Horikawa stream from south to north. There are lots of exits along the stream.
The Milky way 光の天の川
At the blue alien in the map, there is a artificial Milky Way. The most popular spot in the Horikawa area. Usually crowded with many people.
Sorry, it doesn’t take place in 2019.
This was my favorite is Kyono tanabata. Enjoy the video, BAAH!
Yuzen nagashi 光の友禅流し
Yuzen is a Japanese traditional dyeing technique especially for kimono fabrics. Artists paint pictures on a fabric and rinse it in a river. We call it Yuzen nagashi. The Horikawa stream used to be a river and Yuzen nagashi took place there in the days of old.
Evey year, around the vermilion alien in the map, we can see extraordinary Yuzen fabrics. When lights are down, take picture of Yuzen. With strobe, the milky way appears (the second photo).
Lit dews 光のしずく
Under the Marutamati bashi bridge (the red alien in the map), you can enjoy amazing mobiles in the fragrance of Japanese incense.
Well come back, the tram way! おかえりチンチン電車プロジェクト
Street car used to run along the Horikawa river. Today, we can see a model runs.
Works of art 芸術作品
The exhibition of art woks of University students.
I miss them…
Access to Horikawa area 堀川エリアへのアクセス
The nearest station is Nijojo mae station of Kyoto city subway. We get off the subway at the station.
After the exit, go to Ichijo modoribashi/ Seimei jinjya mae bus stop. #9, or #12 bus are available.
Along with Horikawa street, there are other bus stops indicated in the map.