Kyoto Tourist Information: Tanabata Star Festival, Aug 6 – 15

Kyoto Tourist Information: vol. 5 published by Kyoto Tourism Federation in July 2010

Kyoyo Tanabata Horikawa

Display of light and bamboo, art crafts, bamboo decorations along Horikawa River

From August 6 to 15, 2010, Kyoto will see its first “Kyo-no-Tanabata Star Festival,” which will showcase a unique seasonal atmosphere through a display of light and bamboo.

A legend from ancient China has it that two heavenly lovers, Hikoboshi and Orihime, can cross the river in the night sky only once per year, on July 7.

People began to pray to the stars during this period in order that they might be as skilled in weaving, singing, and writing as Orihime. These prayers are called “kikkoden.” This tradition was passed to Japan during the Nara period, when it merged with an indigenous Obon celebration of weaving and ancestor spirits. This merger is said to be the origins of the current Tanabata festival.

In Kyoto, the Tanabata festival has long been held as an imperial event, and even now kikkoden events are held according to the old calendar at the ancient aristocratic residence of the Reizei family.

Kyoto’s Tanabata festival aspires to re-focus attention on the ancient phrase associated with the event, “One year, one wish.” The whole country’s wishes for peace and for the environment will be entrusted to Kyoto’s shrines, temples, and Gozan no Okuribi bonfires.

Date: August 6 (Fri) – 15 (Sun), 2010

Lighting time: 19:00 – 21:30

At Horikawa venue

Display of light and bamboo, art crafts, bamboo decorations along Horikawa River

Large-scaled message lanterns in Nijo Castile – messages of temples, shrines and people in academic culture circles with Yuzen archives

At Kamogawa venue

Path of light and bamboo decorated with bamboo decorations, wind-bell lanterns, and bamboo lanterns along Misosogi River

There will be various events in the area.

Special night viewings will be available at:  Kiyomizu Temple, Kodaiji Temple, Entoku-in Temple, Chion-in Temple, Hokanji Temple, Rokudo Chinnoji Temple, Yasaka Shrine, Shiramine Shrine, Seimei Shrine, Kibune Shrine, Sanzen-in Temple, Byodo-in Temple, Iwashimizu Hachimangu Shrine