Shimadzu Family Tanabata Decorations
Traditional decorations celebrating the star festival
Tanabata, sometimes called the star festival is held each year on the 7th of July. In Kagoshima the pre-Gregorian calendar is followed for traditional events, so Tanabata falls around the 7th of August.
Tanabata is based on the story of two lovers separated by the Milky Way, who may only meet once a year. In Japan people generally celebrate Tanabata by writing their wishes on small pieces of paper and hanging them on bamboo.
At Sengan-en we follow the Tanabata traditions of the Shimadzu family and display paper streamers on giant moso bamboo. The 29th head of the Shimadzu family, Tadayoshi, didn’t normally allow the moso bamboo behind the house to be cut down, but made an exception for Tanabata. Two pieces of moso bamboo, each over 10 meters in length were cut down and displayed in front of the room occupied by Tadayoshi’s son, Tadashige. At the base of the display is a Shinto offering of food, called shinsen.
Tanabata is celebrated each year at Sengan-en, so why not visit and see if your wish will come true?