Our first time to attend this festival, they call it Tanabata Matsuri (Star Festival).
Tanabata (七夕, meaning “Evening of the seventh”), also known as the Star Festival, is a Japanese festival originating from the Chinese Qixi Festival. It celebrates the meeting of the deities Orihime and Hikoboshi (represented by the stars Vega and Altair respectively). According to legend, the Milky Way separates these lovers, and they are allowed to meet only once a year on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month of the lunisolar calendar. The date of Tanabata varies by region of the country, but the first festivities begin on 7 July of the Gregorian calendar. The celebration is held at various days between July and August.
They all so kawaii (cute) wearing summer kimono (yukata).
(sorry I have to cover their faces for security of the kids, it’s a Japanese culture)
In present-day Japan, people generally celebrate this day by writing wishes, sometimes in the form of poetry, on tanzaku (短冊tanzaku), small pieces of paper, and hanging them on bamboo, sometimes with other decorations (see also Wish Tree). The bamboo and decorations are often set afloat on a river or burned after the festival, around midnight or on the next day. This resembles the custom of floating paper ships and candles on rivers during Obon. Many areas in Japan have their own Tanabata customs, which are mostly related to local Obon traditions. There is also a traditional Tanabata song:
Sasa no ha sara-sara Nokiba ni yureru Ohoshi-sama kira-kira Kingin sunago Goshiki no tanzaku watashi ga kaita Ohoshi-sama kirakira sora kara miteru
The bamboo leaves rustle,
shaking away in the leaves.
The stars twinkle
on the gold and silver grains of sand.
The five-colour paper strips
I have already written.
The stars twinkle,
they watch us from heaven.
Orihime (織姫Weaving Princess), daughter of the Tentei (天帝Sky King, or the universe itself), wove beautiful clothes by the bank of the Amanogawa (天の川Milky Way, lit. “heavenly river”). Her father loved the cloth that she wove and so she worked very hard every day to weave it. However, Orihime was sad that because of her hard work she could never meet and fall in love with anyone. Concerned about his daughter, Tentei arranged for her to meet Hikoboshi (彦星Cowman/Cowherd Star, or literally Boy Star) (also referred to as Kengyuu (牽牛)) who lived and worked on the other side of the Amanogawa. When the two met, they fell instantly in love with each other and married shortly thereafter. However, once married, Orihime no longer would weave cloth for Tentei and Hikoboshi allowed his cows to stray all over Heaven. In anger, Tentei separated the two lovers across the Amanogawa and forbade them to meet. Orihime became despondent at the loss of her husband and asked her father to let them meet again. Tentei was moved by his daughter’s tears and allowed the two to meet on the 7th day of the 7th month if she worked hard and finished her weaving. The first time they tried to meet, however, they found that they could not cross the river because there was no bridge. Orihime cried so much that a flock of magpies came and promised to make a bridge with their wings so that she could cross the river. It is said that if it rains on Tanabata, the magpies cannot come and the two lovers must wait until another year to meet.
I got limited pictures because I’m just using my phone forgot to bring my camera 😦 anyway, I got a short video to share, see below.
We do really enjoy coming back here, especially when spring time or let say cherry blossoms sightseeing. But, sad to say we are too early so, we didn’t see any cherry blossoms in the street (few only) and in the mountain.
We just took a train going Arashiyama, Kyoto for about 1hr & 15mins. And, we decided to eat first from the stall we walk by.
The kimono (着物, きもの)is a Japanese traditional garment. The word “kimono”, which actually means a “thing to wear” (ki “wear” and mono “thing”), has come to denote these full-length robes. The standard plural of the word kimono in English is kimonos, but the unmarked Japanese plural kimono is also sometimes used. The kimono is always used in important festival or formal moments, it is the representative of polite and a very formal clothing.
Kimono has T-shaped, straight-lined robes worn so that the hem falls to the ankle, with attached collars and long, wide sleeves. Kimono are wrapped around the body, always with the left side over the right (except when dressing the dead for burial)andsecured by a sash called an obi, which is tied at the back. Kimono are generally worn with traditional footwear (especially zōri or geta) and split-toe socks (tabi).
Today, kimono are most often worn by women and on special occasions. Traditionally, unmarried women wore a style of kimono called furisode, with almost floor-length sleeves, on special occasions. A few older women and even fewer men still wear the kimono on a daily basis. Men wear the kimono most often at weddings, tea ceremonies, and other very special or very formal occasions. Professional sumo wrestlers are often seen in the kimono because they are required to wear traditional Japanese dress whenever appearing in public.
Notable tourist sites
The Iwatayama Monkey Park on the slopes of Arashiyama. Over 170 monkeys live at the park. While the monkeys are wild, they have become accustomed to humans. The park is on a small mountain not far from the Saga-Arashiyama rail station. Visitors can approach and photograph the monkeys. At the summit is a fenced enclosure where visitors can feed the monkeys.
The “Moon Crossing Bridge” (渡月橋, Togetsukyō), notable for its views of cherry blossoms and autumn colors on the slopes of Arashiyama.
The hamlet of Kiyotaki, a small scenic village at the base of Mt. Atago, the home to a notable Shinto shrine.
Matsunoo-taisha, a shrine half a mile south of the area, is home to a blessed spring. It is one of the oldest shrines in the Kyoto area, founded in 700. The alleged restorative properties of the spring bring many local sake and miso companies for prayers that their product will be blessed.
Kameyama koen has a stone commemorating Zhou Enlai‘s visit to Arashiyama. He was moved by the cherry blossoms and mountain greenery. The four poems he wrote about his visit are engraved on a stone monument: “Arashiyama in the Rain.”
Cherry trees bloom in spring and leaves turns red in autumn.
Our first time to try this Owl’s Forest. Stumbled upon this place while walking through a the train station and we saw this sign Cats Cafe and Owl Forest. Unfortunately, the Cat’s Cafe is closed. Worth it to go here in Owl Forest so fluffy and so cute. There were about 10 different cute fluffy owls that you can pet! They even had owls that looked like the ones from Harry Potter!
We do really enjoy going here because we didn’t have decent lunc,so we decided to eat in Kin no Buta (shabu-shabu)