Zojoji Tanabata Festival

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Zojoji Tanabata Festival

Legend tells of the star-crossed lovers Orihime and Hikoboshi who, separated by the Milky Way, are only able to meet once a year on the night known as Tanabata. This festival is synonymous with gaudy streamer decorations, wafts of romance, and a ritual in which people write wishes on strips of paper (sometimes in poetry form) and tie them to bamboo branches. Tanabata falls on July 7 under the Gregorian calendar, though many of Japan's traditional matsuri are held a month later, when there's a better chance of actually being able to see the stars. You'll have to wait until August for the Fussa Tanabata Festival, but Zojoji Temple is hosting a nice little event of its own tonight. A river of candles will be laid out in the temple grounds, accompanied by the requisite matsuri stalls and whatnot, and there's a prayer service at 5.30pm followed by a concert from 6pm.

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