Akita Tanabata Edoro Festival – See Glowing Lanterns with Classical Prints




Have you heard a Japanese word “Tanabata” ever before? We, Japanese, celebrate July 7th as a Tanabata Day every year in many regions of Japan. In this article, I am going to talk about a festival dedicated to Tanabata – Akita Tanabata Edoro Festival in Yuzawa. And this festival usually takes place at the beginning of August. Tanabata is a famous celebration in Japan that came to the country from Chine, and basically, it means a Star Festival. Citizens of Yuzawa in Akita Prefecture created their own unique way to celebrate this traditional event.  

What is Tanabata Edoro Festival?

Tanabata Edoro Festival in Akita Prefecture is a charming traditional festival in a cozy provincial town. “Edoro” is the Japanese traditional art that originated in the Edo period. You will notice many pictures of beautiful women and flowers printed on “Toro”. “Toro” is a lantern, and this lantern with pictures of beautiful women is “Edoro”. Some of them look like “Ukiyo-e”, also a famous and traditional type of Japanese art. Edoro boasts about 300-years history. First Edoro was drawn in 1702 which was the origin of the Tanabata Edoro Festival.

Things to Do and See at Tanabata Edoro Festival

The best time to watch Edoro is in the evening. People make lines and walk through streets decorated with big and beautiful Edoro lanterns. All pieces of Edoro are illuminated. Many amateurs create Edoro, but you will also see the works of professionals at the festival. It may take more than 1 month to make one Edoro. So, all of the lanterns are of high quality and very beautiful. I’m sure that the charming atmosphere of the festival at night and the sophisticated pictures on huge lanterns will impress you. Actually, you can learn how to draw Edoro. Some artists make lectures in May and you can make an Edoro for the festival as well. If you have an interest, you can join the lecture and make your own Edoro!

Some people in traditional clothes walk through streets and dance “Bon Odori”, which is a traditional Japanese dance at the festivals. You can also put on traditional Japanese traditional Kimono. If you don’t know how to put it on, you can visit some Kimono shops along streets. In the shops, staff will help you to try on Kimono. However, if you want to wear Kimono, you have to buy it in advance. Besides Kimono shops, there are a lot of shops selling foods and souvenirs, so you can enjoy shopping at this festival, and try local festival food at the stalls.

There are many events taking place in the daytime as well. For example, you can join Edoro drawing contests. There are contests for kids and adults. These contests usually take place on the main streets of Yuzawa. Best Edoro will be awarded!

Details and Access

Dates: August 5th, 6th, 7th every year

Place: the streets around Yanagi-machi and O-machi in Yuzawa City

Address: 2 Chome-2 Omotemachi, Yuzawa-shi, Akita-ken

Official website (Japanese only):


The venue is really close to Yuzawa Station, JR Ōu Main Line, so you can get there by train. If you have your own car, you can also drive to the venue. Get on the highway and get off at Yuzawa Inter-change. There are a lot of parking lots around.

Closing Remarks

Tanabata Edoro Festival is a remarkable festival featuring a unique atmosphere that creates a bit mystic feeling when you can enjoy a small town in the heart of Honsyu and see how locals celebrate and support their traditions. The fact that its culmination is in the evening adds even more charm to the process of the festival. I recommend you wear Yukata or kimono during this celebration to fully dive into the local community and enjoy the festival at 100%!

If you would like to explore this fascinating festival and see Akita prefecture with a friendly local guide, please check the banner below!

More Lantern Festivals

I hope you enjoyed reading this article and it made you want to visit this great festival. Lantern festivals in Japan are very popular, and you can see it in any season. If you would like to know more about other lantern festivals in Japan, enjoy its mystical atmosphere, and admire a glowing night in Japan, please click on the link below and you will find an article on the best 13 lantern festivals in Japan!


Choose the Most Spectacular Nebuta Matsuri in Japan!

Image courtesy of  Yuya Saito

Nebuta (or Neputa depending on the area) is a huge traditional Japanese paper lantern that can be of various shapes. This is an essential attribute of numerous Nebuta Festivals in Japan and especially in the Tohoku region. It is hard to imagine a Japanese festivity without these colorful lanterns resembling demons from Japanese mythology, brave Samurai, or beautiful Japanese ladies. In addition, the energetic atmosphere during Nebuta festivals will never make you feel bored! The following article picked up 11 most spectacular and unique Nebuta Matsuri in Japan! Please have a look!


Would You Like to Know How to Enjoy a Japanese Festival Even More?

A lot of people when they get to a Matsuri for the first time feel themselves a bit lost. They confuse about what is happening around. If you are new to Japanese Festivals or want to know an alternative way of how you can enjoy these events, the following article will provide you with a set of helpful tips on how to choose a proper festival and activities you should try there. Please don`t hesitate to take a look at it!


Don`t Stay Hungry at the Festival!

Image courtesy of Tomomarusan

For all foodies who enjoy Japanese Festivals would be nice to get acquainted with the rich choice offered by Yatai (Japanese festival food stalls). The food presented during Matsuri is pretty different from the one you get at the restaurants in Japan. Besides, there is a certain charm in grabbing some snack from a food stall and diving back into the festival crowd. I am sure that you will discover something new about Japanese festival food from the following article!


Sosuke Sato

Hi everyone! I’m Sosuke! I hope I can tell you guys the attractiveness of Japanese tradition and fantastic culture through my articles!

Written on

Other Events You May Like