Translated by MATCHA
Asakusa In Summer: Check Out Kappabashi Dori During Tanabata!
Written by Mako Hayashi
Once a year, people from all corners of Japan and the world come to Kappabashi Dori in Asakusa to celebrate the climax of the season, the Tanabata Festival. Take a look at just some of the exciting events and performances you can enjoy every July!
Kappabashi Dori in Asakusa is a 1.2km street that starts from Asakusa's Kokusai Dori (International Street) and runs along to the Showa Dori near Ueno Station. As its name suggests, kappa, a legendary turtle-like creature, is a symbol of the street and you can find many statues and other signs of the kappa adorning the street and its many unique stores.
Shitamachi Tanabata Festival - The Busiest Time of the Year
Held in July, the Shitamachi Tanabata Festival is an annual festival at Kappabashi Dori that attracts people from all over Japan and around the world.
Tanabata is one of Japan's traditional festivals, basically held on July 7th.
During this period, Tanabata Festivals take place all around Japan, but the Tanabata Festival on Kappabashi Dori is one of the most popular. In 2017, this event will be held from July 6th to July 10th. One of the most noticeable points of this festival's approach are the brilliant, colorful streamers and tall bamboo stalks that adorn the street.
These long thin strips of paper are called tanzaku; one point of the Tanabata Festival is the granting of wishes. Just write your wish on a blank strip of paper and hang it from these bamboo stalks.
Not only Japanese, but overseas visitors have also made their wishes on these strips of paper too. What would you like to wish for?
Here you can see another of the decorations found during the Tanabata Festival. This is the kappa, but made from colorful crepe paper.
The Fascinating Parade!
During the weekend of the Tanabata Festival, there is a parade on the main street, the most famous of which is the Etchuowara-bushi. With traditional Japanese classical instruments like the kokyu, shamisen and drums playing all around, the dancers move forward and perform special, well-practiced dance moves. One of the defining points of a Japanese festival is the sheer energy that passes through the crowd because of these dancers and the music.
Photo by TAKA@P.P.R.S
The parade gathers a big crowd every year and the atmosphere is very heated - even if you aren't one of the dancers, you are sure to be entertained and thrilled by their fascinating dances and the sound of the musical instruments.
There is also a market called the Oishiimon Ichiba (Delicious Food Market), where specialties from different parts of Japan are sold. Just seeing the many delicacies that these stalls sell is enough to make anyone excited!
Shitamachi Tanabata Festival: Enjoy the Charms of Japanese Festivals
Photo by TAKA@P.P.R.S
At night, the atmosphere of the street changes once again as it is illuminated with lanterns and other displays.
The Shitamachi Tanabata Festival: colorful performances and delicious food stalls. If you visit Asakusa in July, please make sure to see this festival for yourself.
Address: Tokyo, Taito, Kappabashi Dori
Website: Shitamachi Tanabata Festival (Japanese)