Colorful streamers and gigantic ornaments adorn one of Japan’s most fascinating summer events
The Shonan Hiratsuka Tanabata Festival, held from Friday to Sunday in early July every year, is one of the most famous Tanabata Festivals (Star Festivals) in Japan. The exquisite large bamboo decorations are known as the best in the country. The festival was started in 1951, praying for restoration of Hiratsuka, which was burned down to the ground by the devastating air raids in July 1945. The shopping street around the north exit of Hiratsuka station get adorned with about 500 streamers. Particularly breathtaking is the atmosphere created by more than 10-meter-high gigantic ornaments displayed in the main street. The illumination of decorations at night makes the festival even more spectacular. Furthermore, about one thousand dancers wearing yukatas dance under the colorful streamers in the Tanabata Odori Sennin Parade (Tanabata Dance Parade of One Thousand Dancers). Marching bands and Yosakoi dancers parade under the decorations, too. There are around 400 various stalls where you can enjoy Japanese festival food like yakisoba (fried noodles) and kakigori (shaved ice) and try out festival games such as shooting galleries and other.