Sendai Tanabata Festival 2010: Night 1: Yukata, Fireworks & Food.

This weekend was the Sendai Tanabata Festival, which is kind of a big deal.


I’m not actually particularly clear on the tradition of the festival or what it’s supposed to represent, exactly. Sadly, it’s wiki page is the worst Wikipedia article I’ve ever read, and the couple of Japanese people I’ve asked basically say “well, it’s a festival, innit”. It’s the biggest summer festival in the northern region, and millions of people travel from miles around to come to Sendai to see the parades, fireworks, and especially these giant paper lantern things that are really stunning and everywhere.

We’re lucky to be in Sendai for it, so our friends Abigail & Shelly came up from the Fukushima coast to make a weekend of it. And did we ever!

The summer festival season is when everyone gets their traditional dress on, and the girls weren’t about to miss out; I took it as an excuse to wear my pyjamas around town and have it be socially acceptable. So we dressed up and made a night (well, 3 nights!) of it.

Thursday night’s event was fireworks; allegedly there were 16,000 fireworks being let off. We got there too late to get a spot where you could really see them, though; the streets were SUPER crowded, and lined with food stalls, drink stalls and onlookers. We found a pretty good spot and waited for Alice’s friend Aya to come find us. What we could see of the fireworks was pretty impressive, but it was really about just soaking up the festival atmosphere. Well, that and the beer.

We went out to dinner with Aya and her friend afterwards, to a delicious restaurant whose name unfortunately I can’t remember. It was very European (actually, very Australian!) and not at all Japanese, which was cool, because it was full of festival revellers in their traditional dress and the culture mix was refreshing. Also refreshing was the insanely delicious food.

So after getting dressed up, catching the fireworks and hitting the town, we decided to call that a warm-up and head on home to recuperate.

More photos later! Many more photos…

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Posted in japan, photos | 3 Comments »


  1. Cheney says:

    You have the prettiest girlfriend in all of Toyland! This makes me miss you guys and also summer. At least our beer stays cold here. So icy, icy cold…

  2. jillian says:

    Need more about what the festival is actually about. Just looks like a massive dress-up party at the moment, and I didn’t see many locals in native dress!
    Could it have something to do with anniversary of the Hiroshima/Nagasaki Nuclear Bomb, which was this weekend, If so you have just made massive fools of yourselves and…. lost face!!!

  3. Thom says:

    It basically was a massive dress-up party… And I should have taken more photos of the crowd, trust me we weren’t the only ones :)

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