Showing posts with label nijo. Show all posts
Showing posts with label nijo. Show all posts

Saturday, 8 September 2012

When Orihime meets Hikoboshi in Kyoto - Tanabata Festival

In July, I wrote about the Tanabata Festival (七夕) being rather "low-key" in Kyoto. I was wrong.

At that time, I had the impression that the festival was celebrated in Kyoto on 7 July, instead of the 7th day of the 7th lunar month (i.e. August).  It turned out that while some did choose to celebrate Tanabata in July, it was actually celebrated extensively in August too.

Known as "Kyo no Tanabata" (京の七夕 ), the annual series of events in Kyoto celebrating the Tanabata Festival ran from 4 to 13 August this year. The events which mostly started from 7pm to 9pm, were held at Horikawa and Kamogawa. Admission to the events was free.

The main attraction at Horikawa was the light-up display, reminiscent of the Milky Way separating the mythical lovers, Orihime and Hikoboshi. The stroll to the "Milky Way" took me a good 30 minutes due to the slow moving crowd ahead. Fortunately, the crowd movement was orderly, kudos to the ushers and the cooperative visitors.

Along the way, message lanterns and light displays such as art installations and Tanabata decorations kept the walk interesting.  The waterway beside the walking path was afloat with little blue spherical LED lights, adding a nice touch to the ambience. If the Milky Way were real, and Orihime and Hikoboshi were to meet on that August evening, I wonder how they would have felt, having so many people in their way.

Nearby, the Nijo Castle was open to the public for free in the evenings. Long queues could be seen outside the castle as people flocked to see the spectacular play of lights on the castle walls.

The illumination show on the Ninomaru Palace was especially captivating. Check out the magical play of light on the palace walls via this youtube video (0.53s onwards).

Over at Kamogawa river, it was less crowded. Visitors could pay to write wishes on tanzaku paper which would be hung up on the decorated bamboo leaves that lined the river bank. There were also other decorations on display but it was the lighted wind chimes on display inside bamboo baskets which I found fascinating. 

Check out this youtube video to experience the relaxing song of the wind chimes at the Kamogawa river during Tanabata.