community-forum community-penpal community-userReports destinations-admission destinations-beenThere-outline destinations-beenThere-solid destinations-city_outline destinations-city_solid destinations-closedDays destinations-date destinations-getThere destinations-hotels destinations-hoursFees destinations-itineraries-3 destinations-links destinations-nearbySpots destinations-pin-simple-outline destinations-pin-simple destinations-sortBy-dots destinations-thumbsUp destinations-tours destinations-town destinations-wishlist-heart-outline destinations-wishlist-heart-solid interests-agriculture interests-amusementParks interests-beaches interests-castles interests-city_solid interests-contemporaryArt interests-events interests-festivals interests-flowers interests-foodDrink interests-gardens interests-hiking interests-historicSites interests-industry interests-koyo-single interests-koyo interests-mangaAnime interests-museums interests-nature interests-onsen interests-parks interests-pottery interests-sakura-single interests-sakura interests-scenicRides interests-shopping interests-shrines interests-skiing interests-snow interests-sumo interests-temples interests-traditionalArts interests-traditionalTheater interests-viewpoints interests-volcanoes interests-wildlife interests-winterIlluminations news-section planning-section planning-tickets-2 planning-transportation-access planning-transportation-bicycle planning-transportation-boat-2 planning-transportation-boat planning-transportation-bus planning-transportation-car planning-transportation-plane planning-transportation-shinkansen planning-transportation-tickets planning-transportation-train planning-transportation-walk shapes-chevron-down shapes-circle shapes-star social-fb social-gplus social-instagram social-twitter social-youtube ui-alert-construction ui-alert-warning ui-calendar ui-date ui-globe ui-lightbulb ui-no_entry ui-ok ui-pencil ui-reverse ui-search ui-time ui-video-play ui-x user-avatar

Tanabata festivals, also known as "star festivals", are held across Japan on the 7th day of the 7th month of the year, when, according to Chinese legend, the two stars Altair and Vega cross paths. Due to differences between the lunar calendar and the solar calendar, modern tanabata festivals take place either in July or August.

The Sendai Tanabata Matsuri, held every year on August 6-8, is one of the largest and most famous tanabata celebrations in Japan. Together, with Akita's Kanto Matsuri and Aomori's Nebuta Matsuri, it makes up the Tohoku Sandai Matsuri (Three Great Festivals of the Tohoku Region).

While festivities take place throughout Downtown Sendai, the festival's main feature are thousands of colorful streamers that decorate the city's shopping arcades, which come to resemble brightly colored forests. Each set of 3-5 meter long streamers is handcrafted by local shops, schools and community groups out of washi paper and bamboo. They are then hang from ten meter long bamboo poles along the arcades.

Streamers
Paper decorations - net, cranes, purse, trashbag, kimono

In addition to the streamers, which represent the threads of a loom, there are smaller paper decorations that include kimono to ward off bad health and accidents; a net for good harvests; cranes for long life, health and safety; a purse for good business; a trashbag for cleanliness; and paper strips for good handwriting, which people often write wishes on and hang from a bamboo branch. These items are also hung from the bamboo poles or worked into the design of the streamers themselves.

Various other events are held at Shimin Hiroba Square, Kotodai Park and along Juzenji Dori street. These include stage performances, live music and entertainment, traditional dance and food vendors. In addition, a fireworks display is held on the night before the festival (August 5th) along the bank of the Hirosegawa River.

Access

The decorations are found along the Ichibancho and Chuo Shopping Arcades, which begin a few minutes walk from JR Sendai Station. Shimin Hiroba Square and Kotodai Park are at the end if the Ichibancho Shopping Arcade and just above the Kotodaikoen Subway Station. Juzenji Dori leads from Shimin Hiroba Square to the Hirosegawa River.

How to get to and around Sendai

Hours & Fees

Shopping Arcades

Hours

10:00 to 22:00 (August 6 and 7)
10:00 to 21:00 (August 8)

Admission

Free

Tanabata Fireworks

Hours

19:00 to 20:30 (August 5)

Admission

Free

Hotels around Sendai

Recommended Hotels
Dormy Inn Sendai Annex
Business hotel a short walk from Sendai Station.
Book:
Agoda Booking
Hotel Metropolitan Sendai
Very convenient hotel located just adjacent to Sendai Station.
Book:
Agoda Booking
Page last updated: July 5, 2016