Scroll to content

Shopping cart

Your cart is empty




Better known as the Festival of the Stars or the Festival of the Stars in Love , the Tanabata Matsuri continues to be one of the most loved and celebrated Japanese celebrations for centuries throughout the Land of the Rising Sun.

Candles are one of the symbols of Tanabata © Dallas Ernst

The origins of this holiday date back to very ancient times and are presumed to be due to Empress Koken, when in 755 AD she decided to import a Chinese celebratory custom known as Qīxī or "night of the seven". From this derives the etymology of the word Tanabata which takes on the meaning of "seventh night" : the celebration in fact takes place on the seventh evening of the seventh month of the lunar calendar, on the precise day in which the stars Vega and Altair seem to be closer than ever .

Kifune Shrine during the Tanabata festival period © Discover Kyoto - Niwaka

Although it was a consolidated festival in Japanese tradition for many years, Tanabata only acquired popularity in the Edo period, between 1603 and 1868. But what is its celebration due to? Legend tells of the weaver Princess Orihime and the shepherd Hikoboshi, personifications of the stars Vega and Altair , whose love was hindered by Sky King Tentei, Orihime's father, who, realizing that this love had led them to abandon their duties, decided to separate them, dividing them to the shores of the Milky Way. The Princess begged her father to reconcile them, and after countless prayers the King decided that their reunion would only be possible once a year, equivalent to the seventh day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar.

Some sheets hung during Tanabata © JenJPajless

In honor of the reunification of the two deities , the Japanese celebrate every year in the streets, squares and even in shopping centers, decorating the doors of homes with bamboo canes symbolizing Tanabata and adorning the tree branches with origami in the shape of cranes and small strips of colored paper , called tanzaku . On each of them it is customary to write a message, a poem or a prayer that you want to transmit to the stars, Orihime and Hikoboshi, in the hope that the wish will be granted.

The Zuihōden Mausoleum , a festival location in Sendai © Zuihōden Foundation

On this special occasion the people display the yukata , the summer kimono worn specifically for the holiday, the protagonist of traditional dances and dances; to enrich the festive air there are children's games, stalls of all kinds, zen-washi , typical paper lamps, and fireworks.
Tanabata takes place throughout Japan , but one of the largest and most identifying festivals is the one that takes place in Sendai , the largest city in the Tohoku region, usually in the first week of August. Numerous events are staged here for several days: theatrical shows, parades, live music and fireworks displays, all set in a backdrop of flashy and colorful decorations.

Messages written on tanzaku © Yuki Yaginuma

Despite the evolution and change of the celebrations over the years, the essence of this beautiful celebration always remains the hope placed by people in the stars to be able to see their most sincere wishes come true and to be able to find and see perhaps, one more once, the eternal love between Orihime and Hikoboshi.

More than 1000 products from the Land of the Rising Sun await you on TENOHA E-SHOP, the first Japanese concept store in Europe

Read more

TENOHA KAWAII PROJECT. Un viaggio tra le sfumature del Kawaii

TENOHA KAWAII PROJECT. A journey through the nuances of Kawaii

CONCEPT The Japanese term Kawaii (かわいい) has become a universal word that everyone knows because it is used by the Japanese people. Kawaii is the adjective that in Italian can be translated as “c...

Read more


From 23 July to 8 August, the long-awaited XXXII edition of the Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo will finally be held, not without uncertainties and problems: an event not to be missed and about the ...

Read more