Jul. 21, 2023 UPDATE
Kitano Tanabata festival- 北野七夕祭 -
As this festival is be held for long period of time, foreign visitors can easily join it! Although shrine staff don’t speak English, you may enjoy the beautiful festival atmosphere.
Japanese, English, Chinese and Korean (On the official website)
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PeriodAugust 5th-13th, 2023
VenueKitano Tenmangu Shrine
Story & Recommendation
Summer event to celebrate Star Festival in Kitano Tenmangu Shrine
There is an event called Tanabata (Star) Festival in July 7th in Japan. It is famous as there is a romantic folk tale that the couple stars, the Lyre and Altair of Aquila, can meet only once a year in the night of July 7th (this day is called “Tanabata”). On this day, people of all ages will write their wishes on the strip of paper called “Tanzaku” and hang them on the bamboo trees as it is believed that your wish will be granted. In summer, there are many events to celebrate Star Festival in Japan. In Kyoto, the big Star Festival “Kyo no Tanabata (Star Festival of Kyoto)” will be held. Since Tanabata was held in August in the old calendar, Kyo no Tanabata is also taken place around the same time. Kyo no Tanabata is held for 2 weeks in the beginning of August and there are many events such as nighttime illuminations in several places, Water Art Projection near the river, dance performance by Maiko and so on. This time, we would like to introduce “Kitano Tanabata Festival” held in Kitano Tenmangu Shrine. Kitano Tenmangu Shrine is located in the center of Kyoto and is also famous for the street fair known as “Tenjin-san” which is open to public on the 25th of every month. In this Star Festival, summer festival dances by Maiko and Geiko, concerts of Japanese drums and nighttime illumination of bamboo trees and strip of papers will be offered. As there are many exiting and visionary events during the festival, let’s join and enjoy the Star Festival in Kitano Tenmangu Shrine!
There is a nighttime illumination in the Star Festival in Kitano Tenmangu Shrine. It is magnificent when the shrine gate is illuminated at night. It is a good point that you can get into the Odoi Mound only during the period of the Star Festival. Odoi Mound was made by a famous Shogun (political leader) to defend the city of Kyoto and this is also registered as a historic site. Odoi Mound is also illuminated, so it may be nice to enjoy the calm night of Kyoto while wearing Kimono!
Write a wish on the leaf of paper mulberry
In modern times, it is popular to write your wishes on the long and narrow strip of paper. However, people used to write their wishes on the leaf called paper mulberry in old times. In Kitano Tenmangu Shrine, paper mulberry figured strip of paper is sold. The regular strip of papers is also sold, so anyone can write their wishes. Although you are not able to write your wishes on the paper mulberry figured strip of paper, it may be a nice idea to bring it back as a souvenir as it is pretty! Please also try a water fortune-telling called "Mizu-ura Mikuji" which characters will emerge when you soak it into a water. We highly recommend it as it is also written in English!