Tanabata – Japanese Star Festival

What: Tanabata – Japanese Star Festival
When: Friday July 7th 11am-2pm
Who: Southern Oregon Japanese Association in collaboration with the Ashland Parks Department.
Where: Ashland Japanese Garden inside Lithia Park
Activity: Come visit the Ashland Japanese Garden and make your wish to hang on bamboo to make it come true.

Tanabata – Japan’s Star Festival features a colorful display of tanzaku, or wish strips, hanging from bamboo. This tradition of writing wishes or prayers comes from the Edo period, when children were encouraged to practice their writing and hang them from bamboo for all to see. Tanabata is one of five seasonal festivals celebrated in Japan since the 8th century.

Tanabata was inspired by an ancient Chinese folk legend of two stars: Orihime, the Weaver Star (Vega), and Hikoboshi, the Cowherder Star (Altair). Orihime and Hikoboshi were in love but were banished by Orihime’s father the Sky King to opposite ends of the Milky Way for neglecting their work to spend time together. Moved by his daughter’s sorrow over this, the Sky King allowed them to meet just once a year on the 7th night of the 7th month. On this night a flock of magpies use their wings to form a bridge so that the Orihime can cross the Milky Way to be united with Hikoboshi. The magpies will only make the bridge if July 7 is a clear night; if it rains, they must wait another year. Because of this legend, many Japanese people pray for a clear night on July 7.



For information on APRC visit Follow on Facebook and Instagram @AshlandParksandRec and use the hashtags, #AshlandJapaneseGarden

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If you are planning to visit the garden, please check here for information on public and private events or maintenance closures.