This Sunday I visited the Shōnan Hiratsuka Tanabata Festival in Hiratsuka, Kanagawa outside of Tokyo. Tanabata is a Japanese star festival that celebrates the stars Vega and Altair which are two lovers in Japanese folklore. The Tanabata in Hiratsuka is actually the largest of its kind in the Kantō region with about 4 million visitors from across Japan. It is a multi-day event with tons of food stalls, several stages, parades and lots and lots of decorations in the downtown area, which is closed for traffic while the festival lasts.
All said, it was a typical large-scale matsuri with entertainment for everyone. Parents (especially dads) spent times with their kids, young people met with friends or went on dates, children played with the decorations and had a fun day. For me it provided lots of photographic opportunities shooting pictures of Japanese dressed traditional summer clothing (like yukata).
Japanese girls in yukatas petting a bunny rabbit.
Young girl in yukata under red streamers.
Young boy holding a part of a mobile-like decoration.
The decorations were a big hit with the young children who liked playing with them.
Young girl wearing a yukata and a blow-up anime bear.
There were tons of sweets and candy for kids.
Another Japanese child mesmerized by the hand-made decorations.
A very intense performance of Japanese drummers on one of the stages.
The mobile of stars really captivated many young kids like the boy in a blue yukata.
A young girl on her father's shoulders checking out colorful decorations made from plastic bottles.
A young girl and her plastic toys.
A popular pasttime on festivals: Boy fishing for goldfishes.