Probably the most romantic festival in Japan is the Tanabata ("Evening of the seventh"), which celebrates the meeting of two lovers, Orihime (the star Vega) and Hikoboshi (the star Altair), which, the legend says, takes place one day a year, on the 7th day of the 7th lunar month.
Once upon a time, on the shores of Amanogawa ("heavenly river"), lived a beautiful princess, Orihime ("Weaving Princess"), the daughter of Tentei ("Sky King"). Orihime was working to make clothes for her father, but she was sad, because she was alone.
Then her father arranged for her to meet Hikoboshi, a herder living beyond the river. The two immediately fall in love and soon they married, but after the marriage Orihime stopped working on Tentei clothes, spending all the time with Hikoboshi.
Upset, Tentei separated them and allowed them to meet each other only one day a year, on the 7th day of the 7th month…
Since Japan doesn’t use the lunar calendar anymore, Tanabata is celebrated on July 7th or on August 7th, depending on the region. On Tanabata, many streets in Japan are decorated with colorful streamers made of paper. These streamers are said to symbolize Orihime’s work, the weaving of threads…
One of the best decorated streets in Tokyo is the Kappabashi Street from Asakusa, where the Shitamachi Tanabata Matsuri is celebrated and decorations are arranged continuously over a distance of more than one kilometer:
Yesterday’s Japan Photo: