Spend Tanabata with your Japanese girlfriend in summer! | Guidable - Your Guide to a Sustainable, Wellbeing-centred Life in Japan

Spend Tanabata with your Japanese girlfriend in summer!

By Guidable Writers Jul 7, 2017

Tanabata is a special day all over Japan. Tanabata, the star Festival, celebrates to commemorate the romantic story of two lovers represented by the stars Vega and Altair who are only allowed to meet once a year. Japanese people celebrate Tanabata on August 7th.


What people do on Tanabata?


People write wishes on small pieces of colored paper called tanzaku and hang them on bamboo trees. When the Tanabata festival is near, you will see many supermarket or department store will have a space where people can hang their wishes on a tree. People generally writing wishes on the tanzaku, sometimes in the form of poetry, but most of the people will just write it in casual way.


Large-scale Tanabata festivals are held in many places in japan, mainly along shopping malls and streets, which are decorated with large, colorgul streamers. The most popular Tanabata festival is in Sendai from 6 to 9 August. In the Kanto region, two of the largest festivals are held in Hiratsuka (Kanagawa) and Asagaya (Tokyo).


Most of the Asian festival has its own legend or folk tale behind it. Tanabata also has a story that is originated from a Chinese legend called Qixi, and it was brought to Japan in the 8th century. So lets see what is the festival about.


What is the tanabata story?

Tennno Osama, the king of the sky, had a beautiful daughter named Orihime who an incredibly gifted seamstress. She kept working at her room, to weave the fabric that her father loved so much. The Sky King felt sympathy for her, and he found a boy friend for Orihime. The Sky King chose Hikoboshi, a good hearted man from all the way.


The two instantly fell in love, and they loved each other so much in fact tthat even work no matter to them. Orihime began to neglect her job to weave the fabric, and Hikoboshi began to neglect his work. Eventually, the Sky King became angry!


The Sky King used his incredible power to create a mighty river that would permanently separate the two lovers. This river is called Amanogawa in Japanese, which is called Milky Way in English!


Time went on, and Orihime and Hikoboshi went back to work. However, they never forgot about each other. They went back to work, but their hearts were never the same. Hikoboshi often looked across the river wondering, ‘Is she still thinking about me?’


Orihime also went back to work, but she could not forget about Hikoboshi. She could do nothing but cry. Her tear touched the Sky Father and he finally allowed them to see each other once a year.


So on the eve of July 7th, Japanese people look up into the summer sky and you can see Vega and Altair. For Japanese people, they will think of Orihime and Hikoboshi, two lovers were once again reunited.


As Tanabata is a day to celebrate the reunion of Orihime and Hikoboshi, why not celebrate this day with your lover? One thing you can definitely do in Tanabata is to wear Yukata and go to summer festival- natsumatsuri with your girl friend!

Wear a Yukata


A yukata is a Japanese garment, a casual summer kimono usually made of cotton or synthetic fabric and unlined. Yukata is a bit expensive, but you can buy sets with everything you need at reasonable prices. Don’t forget to buy your sandals! Wearing a yukata to a summer festival will definitely ut you in the natumatsuri mode. You also have to know that putting a yuatais very hard; even Japanese people need some help when they wear Yukata, so the best way is to find someone who is familiar with Yukata, and help you to put it on!


Eat from the food stalls (yatai)


Yatai in the food stalls are set up in the festival area selling food for people to eat while they wander around or to eat while sitting.


There are many foods available in Yatai such as takoyaki, yakitori, taiyaki, and yakisoba. You can also drink Ramune in the food stalls. Ramune is a carbonated soft drink originally sold in Japan, which was introduced in Kobe by Alexander Cameron Sim. Ramune is one of the modern symbols of summer in Japan and is widely consumed during warm festival days and nights.


Playing the festival games!


In the Yatai, there are many fame stall that are made for us to play! You must try Kingyo-skui, goldfish scooping if you have not tried it yet. It is a game that you need to scoop a goldfish with a hoop that only has a thin piece of paper stretched across it. It is harder than you think to get a goldfish, because usually in these kinds of games, they make it extremely difficult so that the players would not get the price so easily. Therefore, the most important thing is to have fun, and do not care if you could get the price or not.


Watch firework with your girlfriend!


At the end of the day, you will be able to watch Firework! You have to sit as fast as you can otherwise all the seats would be taken. If you go to a summer festival, people will stick a blue sheet on the ground in order to show that they have taken the place. Therefore, if you want to see Firework in a good spot, make sure you can find your place as soon as possible.


I have gathered the information about the Tanabata day, and it will be great if you can spend your time with your beloved one!