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 colourful streamer decorations, wafts of romance, and a ritual in which people write wishes on strips of paper (tanzaku) and tie them to bamboo branches.
Zojoji's version of the celebration features a beautiful candle light-up from 6pm to 9pm. Hundreds of washi paper lanterns are arranged in the shape of the Milky Way along the staircase that leads up to the temple’s main hall.
Make sure to write down your wish for Tanabata on a colourful strip of paper, which you can get for ¥100 each. The temple priests will conduct a special ceremony at 5.30pm, where they’ll bless your wishes. Can’t make it to the event? You can still follow the proceedings online.
For this special occasion, Zojoji Temple is selling a beautiful Tanabata-themed omamori lucky charm (¥3,000). As the quantity is limited, we recommend buying it in advance via the temple’s online shop. When you’re making the purchase, don’t forget to write your name in the column for additional notes as the priests will read out your name at a special prayer on the night of July 7. The omamori will be shipped after the event (from July 8).
The event takes place from 9am to 9pm. For more information, see the event website.