Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sendai Tanabata Festival 2011 ♥ 仙台七夕祭り

Tanabata is a Japanese festival celebrating the meeting of Orihime (Weaver Girl) and Hikoboshi (Cowherd). According to the legend, they are separated by the Milky Way and can only meet once a year on Tanabata.

The Sendai Tanabata Festival is one of the 3 major festivals in the Tohoku region, and each year, over 2 million people come to see the giant, exquisite, hand-made decorations

This year, the Sendai Tanabata Festival was held on 6, 7, 8 August.

Some of the beautiful fukinagashi.

Fukinagashi are streamers that symbolize Orihime, to wish for improvement in handicraft skills. During the festival, there are contests and prizes for the most beautiful and creative decorations.

Each of the little decorations are hand-made, have messages written on them and pasted onto the fukinagashi.

More colorful and gorgeous fukinagashi.
These ones have messages gathered from younger school children I believe.

Someone (a child) giving thanks for the support and aid that the world has given Tohoku.

Cute animals made from many scrunched up balls of paper put together.

The top part of the fukinagashi is made by sticking hundreds of scrunched up balls of paper around a spherical bamboo frame. The basic shape is a ball, these were altered to make them look like animals!

Gorgeous panda and crane fukinagashi!

Elegant blue.

Colorful and delightful paper cranes and flowers.

Every single part of every single decoration is painstakingly hand-made with washi, Japanese paper.

Cranes symbolize longevity, as well as hope; for folding a thousand paper cranes is believed to make your wish come true.

Giant kinchaku (purse) with an exquisite mizuhiki crane.

The whole area decorated with beautiful tanabata decorations which people come to enjoy.

Even in the morning there are already so many people who've come to enjoy the festival~

Writing wishes on tanzaku.

With Chiba-sensei from Day 1, when we made mini Tanabata decorations~

Miniature version of the nanatsu kazari, the 7 types of Tanabata decorations.

In brief, the 7 types of nanatsu kazari are:
Kamigoromo 紙衣: Paper kimono. This is to wish for health and for the improvement of sewing skills.
Fukinagashi 吹流し: Streamers. This symbolizes Orihime and is to wish for improvement in handicraft skills.
Tanzaku 短冊: Paper strips to write wishes.
Kuzukago くずかご: Trash bag. To wish for cleanliness and thriftiness.
Toami 投網: Net. To wish for a good catch of fish (good business) as well as to catch good fortune.
Senbatsuru 千羽鶴: Cranes. To wish for longevity and health, as that is what cranes symbolize.
Kinchaku 巾着: Purse. To wish for wealth, thriftiness and good business.

The Sendai Tanabata Festival is gorgeous; a real visual delight. The whole community comes together to make decorations, and to make the once-a-year event an enjoyable one~ It's not hard to see why it's one of the biggest festivals in the region, with all the gorgeous handiwork and amazing preparations!

Thanks to Jiawen and Huixian's cameras for some of the fukunagashi photos!


  1. The streamers are so colourful and gorgeoussss @_@

  2. Everything is so bright and beautiful! I've read about the legend too and it's quite romantic! That kid was so sweet to be giving thanks to aid! Omg Japanese kids seem so grateful!

  3. @yumii ♥
    That's the first thought I had when I saw them~! And then knowing and thinking of all the work that all the people had put into making them, made them even more beautiful~

    @Julie ♥
    So pretty right? Wish I had had more time to look around, there were many many more streets of these I didn't get to see T_T

    @suki pooki ♥
    I think all the kids are just really sweet! It wasn't just one kid, but most of the little messages on all the cuter/character decorations seem to be written by kids~ The one beside the thanks kid wished for Japan to be genki again^^

    ♥ Karisa