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Isesaki's Tanabata star festival

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Local Star festivals

The Tanabata festival is also known as the Star Festival is celebrated on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month.

It originally came from the Chinese Qixi Festival and celebrates the story of two star-crossed lovers that can only meet once a year on this day. It is believed that if that evening is cloudy, the lovers cannot meet that year and have to wait another year to meet.

The festival can run on until August in some areas of Japan. In this teacher's blog Yokozuka sensei who lives in Gunma prefecture, tells about a local Tanabata festival in her city of Isesaki.

Isesaki's Tanabata star festival







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Isesaki's Tanabata star festival

The other day I went to a local Tanabata (Star festival) festival. The Tanabata or Star festival is celebrated on July 7th in both the new calendar and in the old Japanese lunar calendar and was originally handed down from China. Currently, Tanabata festivals are held in shopping districts in various places, where people write their wishes on strips of paper and decorate them on bamboo leaves.

The Tanabata festival that I went to is held every year in a local shopping district and for the 2 day Star Festival, the main street of the shopping district becomes a car-free pedestrian’s paradise with many stalls lined up along it including those selling Yakisoba noodles, Okonomiyaki, and goldfish catching games. Many local people and tourists visited this year, and everyone, from young children to old people, enjoyed the Tanabata festival.

I think there are Tanabata Star festivals held here and there in Japan until the beginning of August. If you get a chance, why not try to experience a local Japanese Tanabata festival ?

地元 じもと  local area

七夕祭り たなばたまつり the Star Festival

新暦 しんれき new calendar

旧暦 きゅうれき Japan's old (lunisolar) calendar

短冊 たんざく strip of paper

笹の葉 ささのは  bamboo leaf

商店街 しょうてんがい shopping street; shopping center; shopping district; commercial strip; row stores

歩行者天国 ほこうしゃてんごく pedestrian’s paradise

屋台 やたい stand


Konnichi-wa, everybody. I am originally from Ringo-no-ri in Aomori prefecture, but I am now living in Kakaa-tenka in Gunma prefecture. I've lived in several other of Japan's prefectures as well, including Niigata (which has gorgeous sunsets), Tochigi (where the Nikko Toshogu shrine is located), and Gifu (land of the famous Shirakawa-go area of historic rafter roofed houses).

I myself am studying Chinese, so I can really relate to the difficulty of learning a foreign language. But still, if we can get past that step and feel the excitement of having just a single word understood, the feeling of satisfaction that comes from communication is, no pun intended, beyond words. I'd like to invite everyone who visits our online Japanese school with the thought "I want to speak Japanese!" to join my classes. Until the day when you can say confidently, "I did it, I learned how to speak Japanese!", I promise to do my best to help you in your Japanese language studies.

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