The Sendai Tanabata Festival has been passed down as a traditional event since the age long ago of Date Masamune, leader of the Date Clan. It is held centred on 7 August, one month later than 7 July when tanabata is celebrated in other areas of Japan. It is one of Tohoku’s three main festivals and is held over a three-day period from 6 to 8 August. It is lovingly known as “Tanabata-san” by Sendai residents.
Massive streamers adorn the arcade streets such as Ichiban-cho and Chuo-dori Avenue and the area around Sendai Station, and the entire city is filled with brightly-coloured Tanabata decorations. The largest characteristic of the Sendai Tanabata Festival is the decorations made from Washi (Japanese paper). Various shops use many different kinds of Washi to create gorgeous elaborate decorations. The decorations of each shopping district are judged and gold, silver, and bronze placards are awarded to the top decorations. Searching for the winning decorations is also one of the joys of the festival.
At the festival venue of Shimin Hiroba square in Kotodai-koen Park, there are various stage events, exhibits to learn the history of Tanabata, stalls with delicious foods from Miyagi, and more. You can also enjoy unique Tanabata customs, such as creating your own Nanatsu Kazari decorations and a corner where you can write wishes on strips of paper and hang them on a tree.