Kokeshi and Tanabata Kokeshi of Jishu Jinja Shrine in Kyoto

"Tanabata" Star Festival and Kokeshi dolls

Have you heard the "Tanabata" Star Festival in Japan?
If you have been to Japan before in Summer, you might have written your desire on the "tanzaku", long and narrow strips of colored paper and hang it on a branch of bamboo tree.


The July 7th is the day of "Tanabata"Star Festival.


Tanabata Kokeshi of Jishu Jinja Shrine in Kyoto

Jishu Jinja Shrine near Kiyomizu temple in Kyoto is well known as "Success in love" which means the shrine where people pray for the happy life with their own partner.

Every year, especially young ladies write their wishes on the "tanzaku" of these two strips called as a "Tanabata Kokeshi".
Ladies write their wishes on the back of girl Kokeshi, and write the name of their partner or their favorite boy.






I suppose that you have already heard of  Kokeshi dolls.

Yes, you can find them on our website. If you are interested in, please check from here!


Kokeshi is the wooden doll shape of young boys and girls. The shape is round and some of them are so tall, the surface is slippery. They are made by hands of skilled craft men and their techniques has a good reputation in the world.
Furthermore, it is said that the Kokeshi dolls may bring happiness and may have also the power of talisman and can protect children from a lot of dangers. 

This is why the shape of tanzaku of Jishu Jinja Shrine is like a  Kokeshi doll


Love story of "Tanabata" Star Festival

* Our collection off Kokeshi couple will guides you the story of Tanabata.
One of the most famous story of "Tanabata" Star festival, it's  a legend of Milky way,  "Orihime" and "Hikoboshi".
"Orihime" is a weaving lady who is one of the God's child. She was weaving so beautiful fabric by changing color of yearn in every season, and it was so beautiful that a lot of people loved her fabric.

However, she focused too much on her work, she did not care about her dressing and did not have a boy friend.
Since the God worried about her, he found a honest and hard working young man called "Hikoboshi" who was cattleman.



"Orihime" and "Hikoboshi" fall in love with each other,  and got married. They ware so happy!

However, they abandoned their work and did nothing but play.
The Weaving machine was covered with dust and cattle became weak and got sick.


The God got angry and pulled them apart not to meet anymore.


However, if they knew once that they could not meet anymore, they depressed too much and did nothing.

The God decided like this:
"If you work well like before, you will have the occasion to meet each other on the July 7th, once a year."



"Orihime" and "Hikoboshi" worked very well, because they really want to meet each other.

 


By the way, Orihime is the symbol of star "Vega" and Hikomoshi is the symbol of star "Altair".


When the season of Tanabata Star Festival approch, we writes our wishes on the "tanzaku" on praying the happiness of "Orihime" and "Hikoboshi" meet each other only once a year.


■The meaning of "Tanabata"


Tanabata is wrtten in Kanji, Chinese character which is like "Seven" "evening".
So "Tanabata " measn the evening og July 7th.
"Tanabata" was originally held in the Imperial Palace as one of the important anual rituals to celebrate stars. Noble persons around emperor prepared the bamboo tree to welcome the God and offered the fabric to the God, on praying the healthy peaceful life and tried to drove out their bad luck.

The fabric they offered to the God was woven by Tanabata-tsume. Tanabata-tsume was a lady weaves beautiful fabric for Gods in the Ancient Japan.

The season of "Tanabata" was a middle of season of natural disaster long time ago, people prayed the safety and protection from Gods. And, you may understand that the fabric has an important items on this festival by the love story of "Orihime" and by the old ritual of offering fabric by "Tanabata-tsume".


You can enjoy Tanabata "Star Festival" twice in Summer...


Actual calendar shows that the July 7th is the day of "Tanabata".
However, there are some regions people enjoy "Tanabata"festivals on the August 7th.
Why??
This is because of the old Japanese calendar show that the August 7th is the day of "Tanabata" Fstival. Ancient calendar is off by one month, and a lot of Japanese traditional festivals are a little bit confused regarding such a different calendar. Finally, you can enjoy "Tanabata Star Festival" twice in summer.

Now, you can not easily come to Japan because of the pandemic, but  if you are interested in Japanese "Tanabata" Festival, please try to make "tanzaku" strips with colored paper in your house  and write your wishes on it.



Please cut the colored paper with the size about 3cm×15to 20cm and make a small hole to put the string through.

That's all you have to prepare.

 

The shape of tanzaku is as follows, it 's so simple!



On the paper strip, you can write your wishes you like,,, but please do not be too greedy, it will annoy "Orihime" and "Hioboshi" and it will become difficult to realize your wishes....



And if you like, we recommend you to stay with Kokeshi this summer.
Cute Kokeshi might also help you to make your wishes come true..




Thank you so much for reading to the end.

 

 

How to useKokeshiSeasonal eventTanabata