Summer officially wins my heart! Go wear a yukata and jump in the fun crowd of summer festive.
Sendai host one of the biggest Tanabata festival in Japan. The festival is about the legend of Orihime and Hikoboshi or you might know it as Vega and Altair from Lyra and Aquila star constellation. Originally, it is chinese legend called Qixi. Orihime was a princess and her job is as a seamstress to weaving a beautiful long clothes (milky way). One day her Father, the God of heavens, let her met Hikoboshi who is a cow herder living on the other side of milky way. They fall in love but then they forget to do their job. That makes the God angry and separated them. The God only let Orihime and Hikoboshi meet once a year on the 7th day of the 7th month. That is the day Japanese celebrate Tanabata. However Sendai Tanabata Festival held every 6–8 August 2016.
But before that you definitely did not want to missed the Hanabi Matsuri (Fireworks Festival) the day before (5th August 2016). Nishi-koen and site of Aoba-castle quite famous as the best place to see the fireworks. You could walk from Sendai Station to Nishi-koen or took loople bus to Aoba-castle. But they have the traffic limitation start from 3:30 pm until 9:30 pm. You better came before that if you want to see from Aoba-castle. I walk to Aoba-castle and arrive there around 4 pm. It is already full of people. The fireworks start at 7pm still have lots of time to strolling around the site of Aoba-castle and hopping around the food stalls 😉
I am sure everyone agreed Japan took fireworks to another level. Japan fireworks is not famous for nothing. They had a non-stop fireworks for 1 and a half hours and they were so beautiful.
The next day they started the Sendai Tanabata Festival. Basically the festival took place on the downtown Area of Sendai: start from Sendai Station just walk trough Cliss Road/Vlandome, Aobadori, and the main stage at Kotodai-koen. You could see Tanzaku (短冊, a wishing papers hangged on bamboo), Kamigoromo (紙衣, Paper kimono), Kinchaku (巾着, paper purse), lots of giants Fukinagashi (吹き流し, paper streamers) all over the place. Tohoku University student also made the Fukinagashi! My favourite is the cat and the pikachu Fukinagashi.
At Kotodai-koen there is lots of Food stall. You should not be worried about foods on any Japan festival. Do not forget to try Kakigori (かき氷, shaved ice) and Sendai’s speciality Gyutan (牛タン, beef tongue). And if you a fan of Japanese musicians, the artist line up also worth to waiting for. I get to see FLOW performance for free (they sing for Naruto and beelzebub opening songs). I have been a big fan of Tanabata since I read Kocchi Muite! Miiko (Hai! Miiko, a manga written by Eriko Ono-sensei). So I am really excited jumping around the stalls: trying to fished using paper-net, eat, join the crowd in front of the stage, eat again, and try to do the traditional dance together with the Japanese people. Had lots of fun this summer!
See short video I made during Hanabi and Tanabata Festival here
P.S. Just a week after Sendai Tanabata Festival, Miyagi had Umi No Bon festival. Will update you about it real soon 😉