close

Regions of Japan

Hokkaido Tohoku Hokuriku
Shinetsu
Kanto Tokai Kansai Chugoku Shikoku Kyushu Okinawa Islands SAPPORO TOKYO NAGOYA OSAKA FUKUOKA FURANO KUSHIRO AOMORI SENDAI FUKUSHIMA NIKKO HAKONE SADO TAKAYAMA KANAZAWA ISE KYOTO NARA HIROSHIMA NAGASAKI KAGOSHIMA NAHA
Hokkaido
Hokkaido
  • Hokkaido
Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush
Tohoku
Tohoku
  • Aomori
  • Akita
  • Iwate
  • Yamagata
  • Miyagi
  • Fukushima
Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare
Kanto
Kanto
  • Tokyo
  • Kanagawa
  • Chiba
  • Saitama
  • Ibaraki
  • Tochigi
  • Gunma
Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife
Tokai
Tokai
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan
Kansai
Kansai
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara
Chugoku
Chugoku
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower
Shikoku
Shikoku
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving
Kyushu
Kyushu
  • Fukuoka
  • Saga
  • Nagasaki
  • Oita
  • Kumamoto
  • Miyazaki
  • Kagoshima
The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky
Okinawa
Okinawa
  • Okinawa
Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings

Festivals & Events

Sendai Tanabata Festival 仙台七夕祭り

A grand celebration of celestial lovers that predates Romeo and Juliet

An ancient legend of star-crossed lovers Orihime and Hikoboshi that predates the tale of Romeo and Juliet is the backstory to Tanabata.

In Sendai, where the biggest Tanabata festival is held in early August, people celebrate by donning their finest summer kimono and strutting down the shopping arcades filled with huge, vividly colored handmade streamers.

Don't Miss

  • Stage performances, live music, and entertainment
  • The big streamers, which are several meters tall

How to Get There

The best ways to get to Sendai from Tokyo are via bullet train, air, or highway bus.

By train, take the Tohoku Shinkansen to Sendai Station from Tokyo, which arrives in an hour and 40 minutes.

Via highway bus, you'll find numerous buses throughout the day. These will take roughly six and a half hours depending on traffic.

Air is the fastest option to reach Sendai at just over one hour, but the most costly as well.

Kick off with summer fireworks

The Sendai Tanabata Matsuri runs from August 6 to 8, one month later than most of the rest of Japan. Start the festivities early by arriving the evening of August 5 to view a fireworks display held just behind Nishi Koen Park along the Hirose River.

Quick Facts

Revelers carry smaller paper decorations such as kimono, nets, and cranes to ask for good health or business, abundant harvests and more

While Altair and Vega cross paths only on July 7, Tanabata festivals take place in either July or August

A whole city decorated with colorful wishes

During the next few days, get lost in the near-infinite number of Tanabata decorations. All designs feature a large paper ball with light but sturdy streamers hanging low enough to touch and walk through. The color, style, and theme are left to the businesses and community groups that produce them.

Seemingly out-of-place symbolic items are incorporated into the designs. For example, a wastebasket represents cleanliness in the household, while a net is displayed in hopes of a plentiful catch at sea.

The romantic story behind the festivities

Tanabata is a centuries-old tradition in Japan, born from a story about the doomed romance between the weaving princess Orihime (Vega) and the cow-herding Hikoboshi (Altair). When the lovers focused more on their relationship than their responsibilities, Hikoboshi's cows escaped wreaking havoc among the heavens.

The princess's strict father now only allows the couple to meet on the seventh day of the seventh month once a year if they work hard. That day is Tanabata.

  • HOME
  • Sendai Tanabata Festival