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Star festival in Kyoto 2018, or Kyono Tanabata【京の七夕】

Ichikishima hime
What is Star festival?
Yagimomo san
That’s a traditional Japanse custom.
ヒヒヒ
We make wish on stars and enjoy summer night!
Kyoto Goat
I’m the master. Let me show you what it is, BAAH!

スポンサーリンク
  1. Star festival in kyoto, or Tanabata
  2. What is Star festival, or Tanabata 七夕?
    1. Gosekku 五節句
      1. Nanakusa no Sekku 7th Jan. 七草の節句(1月7日)
      2. Mono no sekku 3rd Mar. 桃の節句
      3. Tngo no Sekku 5th May 端午の節句
      4. Tanabata no Sekku 7th July 七夕の節句
      5. Kiku no Sekku 9th Sep. 菊の節句
  3. 6 sites of Star festival 京の七夕会場
    1. Horikawa area 堀川エリア
      1. Overview
      2. Illumination ライトアップ
        1. The entrance
        2. Wish upon the bamboo 願いの広場
        3. Paper lanterns メッセージ行灯
        4. The Milky way 光の天の川
        5. Yuzen nagashi 光の友禅流し
        6. Lit dews 光のしずく
        7. Well come back, the tram way! おかえりチンチン電車プロジェクト
        8. Works of art 芸術作品
      3. Access to Horikawa area 堀川エリアへのアクセス
    2. Nijo castle 二条城
      1. Overview
      2. Illumination ライトアップ
        1. East Ohtemon 東大手門(重要文化財)
        2. Nino maru garden 二ノ丸庭園(特別名勝)
        3. Projection mapping at Ninomaru Goten
        4. Kohuntei in Seiryuen garden
        5. The twilight in the forbidden city
      3. Access to Nijo castle 二条城へのアクセス
    3. Kamogawa are 鴨川エリア
      1. Overview
        1. The Kamogawa river bank
        2. Kamogawa noryo 鴨川納涼
        3. Maiko tea house 舞妓茶屋
      2. Illumination ライトアップ
        1. Furin toh 風鈴灯
        2. Sasa kazari 七夕笹飾り
        3. “Projection Art” プロジェクションアート
        4. Misosogi gawa みそそぎ川
      3. Access to Kamogawa area 鴨川エリアへのアクセス
    4. Okazaki area 岡崎エリア
      1. Overview
      2. Illumination ライトアップ
        1. Around Heian Jigu shrine 平安神宮周辺
      3. 岡崎エリアへのアクセス
    5. Kitano kamiyagawa area 北野紙屋川エリア
      1. Kitano tenmangu 北野天満宮
        1. Illumination ライトアップ
        2. Illuminated Green maples 青もみじのライトアップ
        3. Kitano and Taisyogun shotengai shopping streets
      2. Access to Kitano Kamiyagawa area 北野紙屋川エリアへのアクセス
    6. Umekoji area 梅小路エリア
      1. Over view
        1. Illumination ライトアップ
  4. The itinerary of Star festival in Kyoto
    1. Amour, ou la mort
    2. Recommendation1 Horikawa and Nijyo castle
    3. Recommendation2 Horikawa or Nijyo castle and Kamogawa
    4. Recommendation3 Kitano kamiyagawa area only

Star festival in kyoto, or Tanabata

京の七夕 北野天満宮

 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.

スポンサーリンク

What is Star festival, or Tanabata 七夕?

Gosekku 五節句

 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)

春の七草

 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.

白馬総覧神事

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.

Kamigamo shrine in Kyoto, Aoi matsuri, and its history 上賀茂神社 京都 英語
The short history of Kamigamo shrine "Kamigamo shrine" is a de facto name of "Kamo wake ikazuchi shrine". It enshri...

Mono no sekku 3rd Mar. 桃の節句

下鴨神社の流し雛市比賣神社のひと雛

 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

菖蒲の節句

 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.

Gion matsuri festival in Kyoto 2019! 祇園祭 Why it is celebrated? It's schedule, history, and Yamaboko floats!
This article is the most precise guide on Gion matsuri festival in Kyoto; its schedule, history, the reason why it is ce...

Tanabata no Sekku 7th July 七夕の節句

おりひめパラソル

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.

京の七夕 天の川

 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.

八坂神社の茅の輪

 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.

"Chinowa kuguri", 茅の輪くぐり, at Yasaka shrine
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Kiku no Sekku 9th Sep. 菊の節句

嵯峨菊

 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.

スポンサーリンク

6 sites of Star festival 京の七夕会場

Attention: The following photos, videos and information are those of the last year.

Any information on this article is subjet to be altered. Check Kyono tanabata official site in English.

Horikawa area 堀川エリア

Overview

Site: Along with the Horikawa stream (From Oike st. to Ichjyo modoribashi bridge.) 

One way from south to north

Dates: 4th ~10th August

Open Hours 19:00~21:30

Crowded? Yes. Everyday in the period.

Time required 1 hour~

Illumination ライトアップ

The entrance

京の七夕

 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.

Wish upon the bamboo 願いの広場

Tanzaku/ 短冊

 Buy a piece of paper called Tanzaku near the bamboo trees and write down your wish on it. It cost us 100 yen last year.

京の七夕 願いの広場

 Put the Tanzaku on the bamboo tree as an ornament of Christmas tree.

We located the bamboo trees near the entrance last year. 

Paper lanterns メッセージ行灯

京の七夕 堀川会場

 Along with the stream, there are Japanese paper lanterns. Beautiful pictures and calligraphy on them.

The Milky way 光の天の川

京の七夕 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 2018.

Yuzen nagashi 光の友禅流し

京の七夕 光の友禅流し京の七夕 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.

光の友禅流し光の友禅流し

 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

京の七夕 光のしずく京の七夕 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.

Yagimomo san
Amazing!
Well come back, the tram way! おかえりチンチン電車プロジェクト

チンチン電車おかえりチンチン電車

 Street car used to run along the Horikawa river. Today, we can see a model runs.

Works of art 芸術作品

京の七夕 堀川会場京の七夕 堀川会場

 The exhibition of art woks of University students.

京の七夕2018堀川

 In 2018.

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.

Nijo castle 二条城

 Nijo castle was a residence of Tokugawa Shoguns. They dwelt there during “Jyoraku,” their stay in Kyoto.  Famous “Taisei hokan” took place there. On Taisei hokan, the Tokuagawa Shogunate returned the political power to the Imperial Court.

Overview

Site: Nijo castle

Dates: 1st ~15th August

Open Hours 19:00~21:30

Crowded? On week end

Time required 1 hour~

Website Nijo castle official site

Illumination ライトアップ

 Nijo castle has one of the most amazing illumination and projection mapping in Kyoto.

East Ohtemon 東大手門(重要文化財)

二条城ライトアップ

 The main entrcance of Nijo castle. It is listed as one of Important Cultural Property of Japan.

Nino maru garden 二ノ丸庭園(特別名勝)

京の七夕2016二条城 京の七夕2016二条城 

 The largest and the most beautiful garden in Nijo castle. It is believed that the garden was designed by Koboti Enshu, the most famous garden artist in the 17th century.

京の七夕2016二条城 京の七夕2016二条城 

 Nino  maru garden belongs to Nino maru goten. Nino maru goten is the largest building(s) in Nino castle. It consists of 6 buildings and 33 rooms. One of them is a residence of Shogun. We are allowed to enter the building.

Projection mapping at Ninomaru Goten
今日の七夕2018 妖怪プロジェクションマッピング/ YOKAI parade in Nijo castle

 Yokai is featured in 2018.

Kohuntei in Seiryuen garden

京の七夕2016二条城 清流園

京の七夕2018 琴の演奏@二条城/ KOTO concert in Nijo castle

 At Kohuntei villa in Seiryu en garden, we enjoyed a traditional Koto performance.

祇園祭2016 後祭

 Koto is a Japanese traditional strumming instrument.

The twilight in the forbidden city

京の七夕二条城会場2017京の七夕二条城会場2017

 The most amazing time in Nijo castle. The illumination against dusk.

Ichikishima hime
LOVELY!

Access to Nijo castle 二条城へのアクセス

  The nearest station is Subway Nijo castle station. We can also take n#9, #12, and #50  bus at Nijojo mae bus stop.

Kamogawa are 鴨川エリア

Overview

The Kamogawa river bank

Site: The Kaomogawa river bank indicated in the red line in the map.

Dates: 4th ~10th August

Open Hours 19:00~21:30

Crowded? On weekend

Time required 1 hour~

Kamogawa noryo 鴨川納涼

Dates: 

4th  August  19:00~22:00

5th August   19:00~21:00

This is introduced for the first time in 2018 and we have scarce information on it.

Maiko tea house 舞妓茶屋

花灯路舞妓さんの舞

Dates: 4th ~10th August

Opening hours: 17:30~18:20 18:30~19:20 19:30~20:20

Entrance fee 2,000 yen

This also is introduced for the first time in 2018 and we have scarce information on it.

I suppose Maikos serve tea for us.

京の七夕 舞妓茶屋京の七夕2018 舞妓茶屋

 Maikos came to table and we have a small talk and we take photo of them.

We can see Maikos perform traditional dance with drink (Beer/ Choohai/Soft drink and snack, or Anmitsu and iced Japanese green tea.)

Illumination ライトアップ

 The river bank of the Kamo River is not a tourist spot like Nijo castle or Kinkakuji temple. We can enjoy Kyoto night as Kyotoites do.

Furin toh 風鈴灯

京の七夕 鴨川会場京の七夕 鴨川会場

京の七夕 鴨川会場

 In bamboo cocoons, there are small Furins. Furin is a tiny bell made of glass or china. Wind make a piece of paper called Tanzaku swung. Tanzaku is tied to a small metal piece and the piece touch the shell to ring. People enjoy the tinkle with beer.

The place indicated in the red alien in the map.

Sasa kazari 七夕笹飾り

京の七夕 鴨川会場京野七夕鴨川会場

 Along the river bank, there are lots of bamboo trees. We ornament them with Tanzaku.

京の七夕 鴨川会場京の七夕 鴨川会場

京の七夕 鴨川会場

 The twilight time is also recommended. Around the blue alien in the map.

Sorry, it doesn’t take place in 2018.

“Projection Art” プロジェクションアート

京の七夕 鴨川会場京の七夕 鴨川会場

 In 2016, projention mapping was cast on the Sanjo bridge and river bank. In 2018, it is reminds to be seen.

Sorry, it doesn’t take place in 2018.

Misosogi gawa みそそぎ川

京の七夕 鴨川会場京の七夕 鴨川会場

 Missosogi gawa is a stream lies along with the Kamo river.

Sorry, it doesn’t take place in 2018.

Access to Kamogawa area 鴨川エリアへのアクセス

 To Kamogawa area, Keihan Sanjyo or Gion Shijo station and Hankyu Kawaramachi station are convenient. The nearest bus stop is Shijo Kawaramachi bus stop.

Okazaki area 岡崎エリア

Overview

Site: Around Heian Jiugu shrine

Dates: 11th and 12th August

Open Hours 19:00~21:00

Crowded? NO

Time required 10 minutes~

Illumination ライトアップ

Around Heian Jigu shrine 平安神宮周辺

京の七夕 平安神宮京の七夕 岡崎会場

 A huge Torii gate near Heian Jingu shrine is illuminated last year. This also is a place for Kyotoites. Tourists seldom visit there.

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 If you were interested in Torii gate, the article would be help for you.

京の七夕 岡崎会場京の七夕 岡崎会場京の七夕 岡崎会場

 Very calm and solemn place. If you are fed up with crowd, this is the best place for you.

 Attention: We cannot enter Heian Jigu Shrine.

やぎももさん
Such a calm place!

岡崎エリアへのアクセス

 The nearest bus stop is Okazaki koen, bijutsukan, Heian Jingu mae bus stop.

Kitano kamiyagawa area 北野紙屋川エリア

Site: Kitano tenmangu shrine, Around Torii gate (The green alien), Kitano shotengai (The purple alien), and Taisyogun shotengai (The gray alien).

Dates: 4th ~ 16th August

Open Hours Twilight ~21:00

Crowded? NO

Time required 1 hour~

Website: Kitano tenmangu official site

Kitano tenmangu 北野天満宮

 Anyone in Japan knows Kitano tenmangu because Sugawarano Michizane is enshrined there. He was the most learned figure in Japanese history and is adored as the Deity of study. Though its reputation, it is very quite in Kyono tanabata. The most recommended place.

Illumination ライトアップ

京野七夕2016北野天満宮会場京野七夕2016北野天満宮会場

京の七夕2016北野紙屋川会場京野七夕2016北野天満宮会場

 Shinto shrine is scarcely illuminated in Kyoto. Kitano tenmangu is one of rare example.

京野七夕2016北野天満宮会場京野七夕2016北野天満宮会場

 Tender is the illumination.

京野七夕2016北野天満宮会場

 These are lanterns we usually find in Shinto shrines. We can seldom have opportunity to see them lit because we cannot enter them in night usually.

京野七夕2016北野天満宮会場京野七夕2016北野天満宮会場

いちきしまひめ
Vey solemn!
Illuminated Green maples 青もみじのライトアップ

京の七夕2016北野紙屋川会場京野七夕2016北野紙屋川会場

京野七夕2016北野紙屋川会場京野七夕2016北野紙屋川会場京野七夕2016北野紙屋川会場

 The place indicated in the red alien in the map, we can admire the green maple illuminated.

Kitano and Taisyogun shotengai shopping streets

  I have no idea what they would be because these shopping streets have not participate in Tanabata before. I suppose lots of food stands would be on the streets.

Access to Kitano Kamiyagawa area 北野紙屋川エリアへのアクセス

 The nearest bus stop is Kitano tenmangu mae bus stop. Randen Kitano hakubaicho station is also available.

Umekoji area 梅小路エリア

Over view

Site: Umekoji park

Dates: 3th ~ 12th August

Open Hours 19:00 ~22:00

Crowded? NO

Time required 30 minutes~

Illumination ライトアップ

京の七夕 梅小路公園会場

 At Umekoji, trees are illuminated. 

スポンサーリンク

The itinerary of Star festival in Kyoto

Amour, ou la mort

 We have 6 Tanabata sites but cannot visit all of them in 1day. They open at around 19:00 and we can visit only 2 palaces in a day. If you visited 3 sites or more, you should be in great hurry.

 So, in case you try to add one more site, your companion would be

怒

あん?

Believe me.

いちきしまひめ
Only 2 sites, OK?

Recommendation1 Horikawa and Nijyo castle

 These 2 places are popular sites for Tanabata visitors. Enter Nijyo castle before dusk admire the garden and illumination and reach Horikawa when it gets dark. At Horikawa, enjoy the bamboo trees illuminated gold and the Milky way. They are located very close and we have easy access.

Recommendation2 Horikawa or Nijyo castle and Kamogawa

 First, visit Horikawa or Nijyo castle. Take subway at Nijojo mae station and head for Snjo Keihan station. Enjoy the kamogawa with your favorite drink and food.

Recommendation3 Kitano kamiyagawa area only

 Kitano kamiyagawa area is separated from other sites in terms of traffic network. So, it is almost impossible to go other areas. Kinato tenmangu has one of the best illumination in Kyoto. After enjoy it, go to shopping streets and have some food and drink at food stands as Kyotoites do.

 

 

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