Tanabata Star Festival at Kew Gardens

Date: 10.30 – 16:00, Wednesday 2 & Thursday 3 August 2017
Place: Bamboo Garden and Minka House Royal Botanical Gardens,
Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 3AB
Entry fee: Included with entry to the Gardens
No booking required – just turn up on the day!

Tanabata is a Japanese festival that celebrates the coming together of two stars, Orihime and Hikoboshi, who can only meet once a year, on the 7th day of the 7th month. In collaboration with The Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew, Japan House London, the Embassy of Japan, and the Japan Society welcome all visitors to celebrate Tanabata with us and to enjoy workshops, activities and performances marking this ancient summer event.

Try your hand at Japanese calligraphy and write your wishes on colourful tanzaku (wish strips) during all-day workshops. You can also learn how to make origami, follow the Tanabata Treasure Trail and discover the fascinating story of Tanabata through kamishibai (Japanese storyboard theatre) performances by A Thousand Cranes theatre company.

Architect HASHIGUCHI Shinichiro with the Open Weave Tea Room he designed. 

This year’s Tanabata event is extra special, with the inclusion of a tea house and performances of taiko drumming throughout the gardens.  Visitors will be able to observe a tea ceremony performed by KAMIMURA Akemi of Waso Japan in an installation of the Open Weave Tea Room by Japanese architect HASHIGUCHI Shinichiro. Fine twisted strings used in making fusuma (sliding doors) create an enchanting space, which demonstrates the delicate craft of the loom, refined and perfected over the years. Hashiguchi will be present on both days to tell people about the Open Weave Tea Room project.

HIROTA’s Joji exciting London Taiko Drummers will perform in the bamboo gardens and other locations around the Gardens. In the early 80s, Hirota founded ‘Joji Hirota & London Taiko Drummers’. They have since performed at concerts worldwide and at international festivals including WOMAD, Bruges, Interparla, and Sibiu Festivals as well as many others in the UK, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Come along and follow the rhythmical sound of the drums to find them throughout the Gardens.

The Royal Botanical Gardens has one of the largest collections of bamboo in the UK, with approximately 1,200 bamboo species, surrounding a Minka Japanese farmhouse. The Gardens also boast a well-manicured Japanese landscape comprising three garden areas that were created to complement the Chokushi-Mon Japanese Gateway. Don’t miss Joji Hirota’s London Taiko Drummers powerful performances in this beautiful setting.

In the lead up to opening, Japan House London will be popping up all over, offering a taste of what’s to come when it opens on Kensington High Street. To be kept up to date with progress, to hear exhibition announcements and to be amongst the first to know about other pre-opening events, follow Japan House London on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @japanhouseldn.