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Starry Reunion: The Shitamachi Tanabata Festival Returns in Shining Splendor!



2023.06.29 (Thu)

By Dan Lewis, inbound tourism adviser and consultant, long-term Japan resident & outdoor activity enthusiast.

Get ready to be starstruck by the Shitamachi Tanabata Festival in Asakusa/Ueno. Tanabata is one of the oldest Japanese festivals, and the custom of hanging colorful strips of paper and ornaments with wishes written on them on bamboo leaves and praying to the stars on the night of July 7 every year still remains. Tanabata, which has roots dating back centuries, is making a grand comeback after a four-year break due to the Corona disaster. So mark your calendars and get ready for a fantastic time!

Taking place in Taito City, Tokyo, this year's festival promises to be a blast. From July 6th to July 10th, Kappabashi Main Street will come alive with vibrant decorations and an array of activities. But make sure to clear your schedule for the main event on Saturday, July 8th, and Sunday, July 9th, from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. These two days will be packed with non-stop fun!

Stretching 1.2-kilometers, Kappabashi Main Street will be filled with Tanabata lively and colorful decorations swaying in the breeze. This will be the place to be, with local merchant stalls offering unique products and performances that will leave you awestruck. Think music, dancing, and a whole lot of entertainment for everyone.

On Saturday, get ready for an exciting opening ceremony followed by a vibrant parade from the Ueno side to the Asakusa side. It'll be a spectacle you won't want to miss! As the evening approaches, be prepared to be enchanted by the slow yet powerful dance of the Ecchu Owara Festival. The atmosphere when the sun goes down is truly something special.

Sunday will be jam-packed with street performances, including the energetic "Awaodori" and the graceful "Sado Okesa" Nagashi Odori dance. Plus, there will be a flea market, a Yamaha Electric Bicycle Test Ride Event, and various performances happening all around the street. And let's not forget the mouthwatering bake sales by local merchants happening both days. You won't be able to resist!

So gather your friends and family, and head on over to Kappabashi Main Street to “hang out with the stars” of Tanabata! With colorful decorations, tasty treats, and a lively atmosphere, the Shitamachi Tanabata Festival is the place to be this summer. Don't miss out on this fantastic celebration of Japanese culture and community. See you there!

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