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[Miyagi/Tohoku Three Major Festivals] Enjoy Japan's most famous Tanabata Festival! Recommended ways to enjoy the Sendai Tanabata Festival
The most famous Tanabata festival in Japan is probably the Sendai Tanabata Festival. A must-see is the gorgeous and elegant large-scale Tanabata decorations that line up all over the city! This time, we will introduce you to the basics of the Sendai Tanabata Festival and how to enjoy it.
1. What is “Sendai Tanabata Festival”?
1-1 Origin and history of “Sendai Tanabata Festival”
The Sendai Tanabata Festival is one of the three major festivals of Tohoku, along with the Aomori Nebuta Festival and the Akita Kanto Festival. All of Tohoku's three major festivals are thought to have originated from the Tanabata Festival, but each one has developed into a different form. Among them, the Sendai Tanabata Festival, as its name suggests, can be said to be a festival that retains the strong influence of the original Tanabata Festival. In Sendai, this festival is affectionately known as "Tanabatasan" and has a history of over 400 years. Date Masamune, the first lord of Sendai, also wrote a waka poem about Tanabata.
1-2 When is the “Sendai Tanabata Festival” held?
The Sendai Tanabata Festival is held from August 6th to 8th every year. Originally, the Tanabata Festival was held on the 7th day of the 7th month of the lunar calendar, so it is held on this date to match the seasonal feeling of the time.
1-3 Highlights of “Sendai Tanabata Festival”
The highlight of the Sendai Tanabata Festival is the huge and gorgeous Tanabata decorations. During the festival period, the center of Sendai city and various shopping streets are decorated with colorful decorations. The way the windsocks blow in the wind is atmospheric and makes you feel like summer in Japan. All Tanabata decorations are handmade, and each set consists of 5 streamers. The cost to make one bottle is said to range from several hundred thousand yen to several million yen. The contents of the Tanabata decorations are kept strictly confidential until the decorations begin on the morning of August 6th. Each store will judge their Tanabata decorations, and the gold, silver, and bronze awards will be announced on the afternoon of the 6th. On the morning of the 6th, you can see the decorations being put up, and in the afternoon you can check out the award-winning Tanabata decorations. Please enjoy the beautiful Tanabata decorations that are filled with the wishes of the creators to your heart's content.
1-4 Types and wishes of seven bamboo decorations (seven decorations)
At the Sendai Tanabata Festival, there are seven types of bamboo decorations called Nanatsukazari. Each one has a wish attached to it, so you can enjoy Tanabata decorations even more if you know about them in advance.
・Tanzaku (Tanzaku)…Improvement in academics and calligraphy
・Kamigoromo: A kimono-shaped bamboo decoration made of washi paper. Ward off illness and disaster, improve sewing skills
・Orizuru…Wife safety and health and longevity
・Kinchaku: A bag-shaped bamboo decoration. Prosperous business, no need for money
・Throwing net (toami)...Bundant catch and harvest. Gather good luck with a casting net
・Waste basket (waste basket)…Cleanliness and thrift (waste paper from making bamboo decorations is stuffed into the basket)
・Fukinagashi…Improve your skills in handicrafts and weaving (symbolizes Orihime, a master weaver)
1-5 Where and how to view?
The "Sendai Tanabata Festival" will be held in the center of Sendai city and the surrounding local shopping streets. At the Sendai Tanabata Festival, there are no portable shrines or parades, but the main event is to admire the Tanabata decorations that are widely displayed. Simple Tanabata decorations can be seen in the arcades of Chuo-dori and Ichibancho-dori in front of JR Sendai Station, as well as in the surrounding local shopping streets, so feel free to stroll around them.
1-6 Access to the venue
The Sendai Tanabata Festival is held around JR Sendai Station. The main public transportation options for traveling to Sendai from various places include airplanes, Shinkansen trains, and ferries. It takes about 1 hour and 5 minutes from Narita Airport to Sendai Airport, about 1 hour and 15 minutes from Chubu Centrair International Airport and Sapporo Airport, and about 2 hours and 10 minutes from Fukuoka Airport. It takes about 25 minutes by train from Sendai Airport to JR Sendai Station. If you take the Shinkansen, you can get from Tokyo Station to Sendai Station in about 1 hour and 40 minutes. Ferry is also convenient from Hokkaido. It takes about 15 hours from Tomakomai to Sendai.
2. Enjoy the “Sendai Tanabata Festival”!
2-1 Don't miss the "Sendai Tanabata Fireworks Festival", the eve festival where you can enjoy fireworks!
The Sendai Tanabata Fireworks Festival will be held on August 5th as the eve. The event will be held around Sendai Nishi Park. To get to Sendai Nishi Koen, take the Tozai Line of the Sendai City Subway and get off at Omachi Nishi Koen Station. At the teahouse in the park, which was founded in 1899, you can also enjoy Sendai's specialty, zunda mochi. Seeing the impressive fireworks will raise your expectations for the festival the next day.
Name Sendai Tanabata Fireworks Festival (Venue: Sendai Nishi Park)
Address Outside Sakuragaoka Park 1-3, Aoba Ward, Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture (Sendai Nishi Park)
2-2 Experience making Tanabata decorations at Tanabata Museum
At the Tanabata Museum, you can try your hand at making your own miniature Tanabata decorations. Children in the 3rd grade and above can participate alone (children in the 2nd grade and below must be accompanied by a guardian). The capacity is 1 to 4 people, so you can bring the whole family along. Reservations are required and the journey takes about 1 hour. Since it is a facility inside the Sasakamakan, there is also a plump grilling corner where you can grill and eat Sasakama yourself, as well as a Sasakama hand-making experience. Please check it out on the official website.
Name Tanabata Museum
Address: 6-65 Tsuruyo-cho, Wakabayashi-ku, Sendai-shi, Miyagi Prefecture
2-3 Enjoy food stalls and events at “Omatsuri Hiroba”!
During the Sendai Tanabata Festival, the Kotodai Park Civic Plaza becomes the Festival Plaza, where numerous events are held to liven up the festival. There are many food stalls, and you can enjoy street food and the festival atmosphere. It takes about 3 minutes from Sendai Station to Kotodai Park Civic Plaza on the Sendai City Subway Namboku Line. It's right outside Kotodai Koen Station's Park Exit 2. At dusk, the Bon Odori dance begins, and you are welcome to join in.
Name Festival Square (Kotodai Park Citizens Square)
Address: 3-9-2 Honmachi, Aoba-ku, Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture
Contact: 022-225-7211 (Aoba Ward Office Park Division)
2-4 Enjoy the fantastic Tanabata night at Date Masamune's mausoleum "Zuihoden"
At Zuihoden, known as the mausoleum of Date Masamune, a light-up event called ``Gensou Toyo Tanabata Night'' is held every year from August 6th to 8th. An old-fashioned windsock is displayed in front of the gate, giving you a different atmosphere than during the day. A convenient means of transportation is the Loople Sendai sightseeing bus that circulates around Sendai city. Viewing fees are also discounted if you use the Loople Sendai Night Train, which operates during the Tanabata period.
Address: 23-2 Reiyashita, Aoba-ku, Sendai City
2-5 Meet the Date Bushotai at the Tanabata Night Event at the Sendai Castle Ruins
The Sendai Castle Ruins Tanabata Night Event will be held at the Sendai Castle Ruins, sponsored by the Date Bushotai . ``Date Bushotai'' is a group of Sendai hospitality groups dressed as Sengoku warlords. Powerful sword fights and demonstrations are performed at the illuminated Sendai Castle ruins, making you feel as if you have traveled back in time. In addition to the Date Bushotai, other military commanders and mascot characters from all over the country will be gathered together. Why not spend a gorgeous night that transcends eras?
Name: Sendai Castle Ruins
Address: 1 Kawauchi, Aoba-ku, Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture
3. Recommended sightseeing and tours that can be enjoyed together with the “Sendai Tanabata Festival”
3-1 Gourmet sightseeing in Sendai city by visiting “Beef Tongue”
In Sendai, there is a ``Map of grilled beef tongue in Sendai city'', which shows sightseeing spots and beef tongue shops in the city on an illustrated map. If you look at the map, there are so many beef tongue shops that you won't be able to stop by. Why not pick a restaurant that interests you and compare them to find your favorite flavor? The ``Sendai City Grilled Beef Tongue Map'' is distributed at the ``Sendai City Tourist Information Center'' on the second floor of Sendai Station. Get the map as well as the tourist information you want to know.
Name Sendai City Tourist Information Center
Address: 2nd floor, JR Sendai Station, 1-1-1 Chuo, Aoba-ku, Sendai City
3-2 Also visit Matsushima, one of the three most scenic spots in Japan.
The ``Sendai Tanabata Festival'' is one of the ``Three Great Festivals of Tohoku,'' but there is another one in Miyagi Prefecture that is called the Three Great Festivals. That is Matsushima, one of Japan's three most scenic views. If you are going to Miyagi Prefecture, there is no reason not to visit. Matsushima, which is also known as a destination for the haiku poet Basho on his Oshu pilgrimage, is a treasure trove of spectacular views. It is also a good idea to take a cruise on a pleasure boat and enjoy a cruise around Matsushima Bay. Matsushima is also a place that has been loved by successive feudal lords, including Date Masamune. There are also many historical tourist attractions. After watching the elegant Sendai Tanabata Festival, why not take a trip to experience the beauty of Matsushima and relax your soul?
4. Fireworks, gourmet food, and events! Enjoy the historic Sendai Tanabata Festival
Tanabata has been familiar to me since I was a child by writing my wishes on strips of paper. There are various Tanabata festivals in various places, but the scale of the Sendai Tanabata Festival is exceptional. The ``Sendai Tanabata Festival'' has a lot to offer, including the ``Sendai Tanabata Fireworks Festival'' on the eve, Sendai gourmet food such as bamboo shoots and beef tongue, and events at the ``Omatsuri Hiroba.'' Matsushima, one of Japan's three most scenic views, is also a must-visit spot. Why not take an unforgettable trip to Sendai Tanabata Festival?
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