Kyoto is inviting Middle Eastern travellers to immerse themselves in charming Japanese culture during the unique Tanabata (Star Festival), which is being held on August 7, 2019, in line with the lunar calendar.
The festival celebrates the legend of two astrological lovers, Hikoboshi (the Altair star) and Orihime (the Vega star), who are separated by the Milky Way, which is also referred to as the river of the heavens.
Once a year they are allowed to meet, and this is celebrated by hanging a small paper inscribed with wishes, which are tied to Tanabata bamboo branches. The bamboo branches can be seen throughout the city. In mid-August, during the Obon-festival, they are collected and ceremoniously burnt at the famous Gozan no Okuribi bonfire. This ceremony is said to send the wishes to heaven, making them all come true.
The Tanabat festival runs for 10-days and features beautiful evening events that are wish-themed at a number of iconic locations throughout the city. The events include visual installations of Tanabata, illuminations, light-shows, artistic soundscapes, thrilling family activities and festive food stalls.
Middle Eastern visitors are encouraged to participate in the Kyo no Tanabata festival just like a local by wearing traditional yukata (summer kimono) and visiting the major event sites where they can submit their wishes.
In light of the festival, Kyoo City has launched a dedicated website, which features all of the Tanabata events, the locations and much more.