Photo: Laika ac Shitamachi Tanabata Matsuri (7560643264) – Laika ac / CC BY-SA 2.0

Shitamachi Tanabata Matsuri 2025

Dancing, food, performances in the heart of Old Tokyo

Jianne Soriano   - 1 min read
Venue : Asakusa When : Early Jul 2025

The Shitamachi Tanabata Matsuri is one of the most well-known Tanabata festival celebrations. This four-day festival runs from Ueno to Asakusa. It is to celebrate the meeting of two deities: Orihime and Hikoboshi, star-crossed lovers who are only allowed to meet once a year.

Held around July 7, the festival features dancing, eating, and drinking at local stalls, and live entertainment that includes street performances as well as traditional acts like shamisen (a traditional Japanese instrument) and taiko (Japanese percussion instrument) on Saturday. But the main attraction is the parade on Sunday topped with countless decorations.

A fun festival traditional custom invites attendees to write down their wishes on paper and tie it to the bamboo branches that line the streets. The Tanabata festival originates from the Chinese Qixi Festival and is also celebrated throughout Southeast Asia (where it is known as the Star Festival).

It's a great way to soak in the summer around the streets of Tokyo.

Jianne Soriano

Jianne Soriano @jianne.soriano

Hong Kong-born Filipino studying International Journalism. Loves photography, travel and East Asian cinema.