Skip to main content
You are here
Facebook icon
Pinterest icon
Twitter icon

Tanabata festival

6 August 2014 to 7 August 2014, 10am to 2.30pm

Celebrate the Japanese star festival with calligraphy, origami and performance
Event details: 
Workshops begin every 30 minutes.

The Japanese Minka House


Included with entry to the Gardens

Japanese Tanabata wishes hanging in trees

A tree covered in <em>Tanabata</em> wishes

Join us at the Minka House to celebrate Tanabata, the Japanese star festival. Try your hand at origami and calligraphy then hang your wish in our beautiful Bamboo Garden. Leading Japanese calligraphy artist Shoho Teramoto will give a special performance each day at 2pm, painting a two-metre long mural while a storyteller recounts the romantic legend that the festival celebrates. Will appeal to both adults and children.

Take an exclusive tour of the bamboos with one of Kew’s horticultural experts.

Festival programme

11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2.30pm: Calligraphy workshops

11.30am, 12.30pm, 1.30pm, 3pm: Origami workshops

2pm: Storytelling by Roger Day and Calligraphy Performance by Shoho Teramoto

What is Tanabata?

Tanabata is held between 7 July and 7 August throughout Japan. The festival traces its origins from a romantic legend that the Cowherd Star (Altair) and Weaver Star (Vega), separated by the Milky Way, are allowed to meet just once a year on the seventh day of the seventh month.

People celebrate by writing their wishes on strips of coloured paper called tanzaku, which they hang with other paper ornaments on bamboo, before praying in the hope their wish will come true. Special events and concerts based on the legend take place throughout the Tanabata season.

Embassy of Japan in the UK logo

With thanks to the Embassy of Japan for their help arranging this festival.

IGPOTY Collection 8 book

Buy the book online and save £3 on the RRP (£15.99 instead of £18.99).

Penstemon flowering in an isolated spot around Crater Lake in Oregon with the lake and stunning sunset showing in the background. (Photo: Dennis Frates)

Talks and courses brochure

Browse through our latest brochure, where you'll find many different courses including photography, arts, crafts, botany and many more.