THOUGHTS FROM OUR GUIDES: Japan’s Wishing Festival, Star Festival

posted in: Culture, Japan, Postcard | 0
[guest post by our guide Miki in Japan!]
Look closer for a heartfelt note.

Happy belated Star Festival (Tanabata) to our Supera community!

Last week in Japan we celebrated the Star Festival, an event that marks the reunion of two lovers only allowed to meet once a year.

Legend has it that there are two bright stars: a Weaver star (Vega) and a Cowherd Star (Altair) who are in love and are only allowed to meet once a year across the Milky Way on the night of July 7th.

To celebrate their reunion we decorate bamboo branches with colorful paper strips. It is believed that a wish will come true if you write the wish on a paper strip and hang it on a bamboo branch.

In Japan, bamboo trees are everywhere. My favorite place is Arashiyama Bamboo forest in Kyoto. The endless vibrant bamboo are full of life and seem sacred. As you stroll down the trail you hear the sound of bamboo swaying in the wind. And as you listen, you’ll feel your heart swing to their sway.

Tokyo Skytree from afar


During this time of the year colorful Star Festivals are held across Japan. The two biggest festivals take place in Sendai -located 190 miles Northeast of Tokyo, and Hiratsuka – 30 miles Southwest of Tokyo. 

In Tokyo, the most popular is the Tokyo Tower Milky Way Illumination event.

My favorite one is at Zojoji Temple located next to Tokyo Tower. There are approximately 3500 Japanese paper lanterns scattered on the temple grounds, all representing the Milky Way. At night, candles light up the temple making it even more special. It’s this view that your heart will connect with and cherish the most.

If you’d like a chance to see Japan’s festivals in person, we suggest planning your visit in July or August which is when most outdoor activities take place. Weather during this time is warm in the big cities, but the atmosphere is exciting and festive!

Follow Miki:

Miki is one of our guides based in Japan and one of the nicest people you will ever meet. Prior to returning to Japan to settle down, she lived in the US for several years, so she has a keen eye for cross-cultural relationships.