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Tanabata: Celebrating the Japanese Star Festival at Kew Gardens

Tanabata is a Japanese festival that celebrates the coming together of two stars, called Orihime and Hikoboshi, who can only meet once a year.


The Embassy of Japan, alongside Japan Society, Kew Gardens and Japan House London, held a special event full of performances, activities, and talks to mark this ancient festival.



During the day, the sound of Joji Hirota’s London Taiko Drummers echoed across the garden, with performances in the bamboo gardens and other locations at Kew. The energy and the rhythmical sound of the drums, was the highlight for me.



The public was able to try their hands at Japanese calligraphy and write their wishes on colourful Tanzaku (wish strips), that would be hung on trees, during all-day workshops.


This year the Tanabata event presented an installation of the Open Weave Tea Room by Japanese architect Shinichiro Hashiguchi. Fine twisted strings used in making Fusuma (sliding doors) were used to create an enchanting and ethereal space which captured the delicate craft of the loom. 


We were able to observe a tea ceremony, performed by Akemi Kamimura of Waso Japan, and learn more about the installation from Shinichiro Hashiguchi. Canton Tea Co kindly supplied tea for tastings to accompany the tea ceremony.

We were also able to learn how to make the best origami. The staff were able to assist us in anything that we wanted to make.   



The festival was colourful and interactive experience for me. You can definitely feel the love that the staff and attendees had for Japanese culture, something that united us all in the celebration.



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