~Kyo no Tanabata~Star festival schedule in Kyoto


If you can meet your lover only once a year, how do you feel?

Tanabata is loved by Japanese as a romantic day that a girl (Orihime) and a boy(Hikoboshi) can meet only once a year. 


Tanabata festival originated from the Chinese star festival called ‘Kikkoden’.

During the Nara Period, Kikkoden festival was conveyed to Japan as the event in Imperial Court.

Tanabata is derived from the legend of Vega(Orihime) and the Altair(Hikoboshi), who are separated by the milky way. On that day we display bamboo grass with a strip of paper and ornaments to celebrate their reunion.
When we write a wish to the strip of paper and display it, it is said that wish come true!


Tanabata festival is held on July 7th in the Gregorian calendar or on August 7th in the old lunar calendar.

Most of the Shrine rituals of Tanabata are held on July 7th in Kyoto. However, ‘Kyo no Tanabata’ is held in August every year.

6 sites in Kyoto city offer various events, and people wearing kimono or yukata are received wonderful gifts!


The dates that this event differ by sites, so please check the schedule list below.

Horikawa site
Dates August 4(Sat) ~10(Fri), 2018
Illumination hour 7:00 P.M. ~ 9:30 P.M.
Location Area around Horikawa River Walking Path (Thevicinity of Oike Dori to Ichijo Modoribashi Bridge)

The Horikawa River Walking Path is transformed into a fantasy world through such attractions as the “Illuminated Milky Way,” which is a recreation of the Milky Way filling the night sky, and “Illuminated Yuzen-nagashi,” which uses light in its presentation floating on the water’s surface.


*150 people wearing kimono or yukata will be offered a gift each day.

Kamogawa site
Dates August 4 (Sat) ~10(Fri), 2018
Illumination hour 7:00 P.M. ~ 9:30 P.M.
Location Area around the Kamogawa River (Bukkoji Dori to Oike Dori)

Kyo-yaki and Kiyomizu-yaki ceramics, as well as wind chimes made using the traditional techniques of Kyoto Buddhist altar fittings, are placed in a bamboo basket and illuminated with LED to create “wind chime lanterns.” Special strips of paper with wishes written on them are hung, and LED lighting decorates the glamorous “Walkway of Bamboo and Light,” combining with the babbling sound of the Kamogawa River to create a world of fantasy.


*80 people wearing kimono or yukata will be offered a gift each day.

Nijo castle site
Dates August 1(Wed) ~15(Wed), 2018
Illumination hour 7:00 P.M. ~ 9:30 P.M. (Doors close at 9:00 P.M.)
Location  Inside the World Heritage former detached palace Nijo Castle *Castle admission fee required

Higashi  otemon gate,  an important cultural property, and Ninomaru garden, a special scenic beauty, will be illuminated.

Umekoji park site
Dates August 3 (Fri) ~12(Sun), 2018
Illumination hour 7:00 P.M. ~ 10:00 P.M.
Location  Umekoji park

Waterside illumination imaging fireflies decorates Umekoji park beautifully.  Events for family also will be held.

Kitanotenmangu site
Dates August 4 (Sat) ~16(Thu), 2018
Illumination hour Sunset~9:00 P.M.
Location  Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine, Kitano Kamishichiken, area in front of Kitanomon Gate on Imadegawa Dori, area around the Kitano shopping district
  • -Nighttime entry and illumination of the historic spot Odoi Mound
    The entire site is decorated with Tanabata bamboo branches and illuminated with lights to create a fantasylike atmosphere.
  • -Ishi-no-ma Passageway Ceremony Votive object and costume exhibit
    August 11 to 13, 4:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M.
    First fruits fee: ¥1,000
  • -Mitarashigawa River Ashitsuke votive light ceremony
    August 15 to 16, 9:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M.
    First fruits fee: ¥300
Okazaki site
Dates August 11 (Sat) ~12(Sun), 2018
Illumination hour 7:00 P.M. ~9:00 P.M.
Location Okazaki Park and nearby facilities, etc.

Okazaki Promenade Sound Feast of the Stars(3:00 P.M. to 9:00 P.M.)

The path from Heian-jingu Shrine Otenmon Gate to the large torii gate is illuminated, Okazaki Park and the facilities, dining establishments, etc., along Nijo Dori host unique music events, and food stands are set up with the cooperation of restaurants in Okazaki and the surrounding area, creating an attractive night in Okazaki.

It is hard to see clear starry sky on July 7th in the Gregorian calendar because of the rainy season. However, you can see beautiful night sky because Tanabata in the old lunar calendar is August. Why don’t we celebrate the reunion of Orihime and Hikoboshi while viewing illuminations and  brilliance of stars!