The Japan Society

Video: How to Make a Tanzaku

Subject: Art & Design
Level: Key Stage 1 / Key Stage 2 / Key Stage 3 / GCSE+
Age: 5-7 years / 7-11 years / 11-15 years / 15+ years
Resource Type: Activities / Videos

The Tanabata Festival in Japan celebrates an old love story about a weaver princess and a cattle herder. In the story, they are allowed to meet only once a year, on July 7th (or August 7th in some parts of Japan), so many people celebrate their reunion on this day. The two characters in the story represent two stars in the Milky Way so Tanabata is also called the ‘Star Festival’.

If you are in Japan for Tanabata you will see lots of colourful decorations, including coloured strips of paper called tanzaku which are hung up on bamboo. Traditionally, people would write a wish on tanzaku to pray for Orihime and Hikoboshi’s reunion. Now many people write their own personal wish on tanzaku too.

Make your own tanzaku with coloured paper/card by following the instructions below. You can also use our templates.

You will need:

  • Coloured Paper/Card
  • Pen
  • String or ribbon
  • Scissors
  • Hole punch


  1. Cut out a rectangle of coloured paper or card. It should be roughly 7cm by 15cm, but it can be bigger or smaller.
  2. Using a hole punch, make a hole in the top of the rectangle, about 1cm away from the edge.
  3. Write your wish and your name on the tanzaku paper with a pen. You can add extra drawings or decorations if you like.
  4. Thread ribbon or string through the hole and find a place to hang your wish.


Make your tanzaku with our templates. Simply print and colour them in before carefully cutting each out. You can also use them to practice writing your wish. The example on the left is written in Japanese. It says “I hope to go to the beach this summer.”

tanzaku templates
Download our tanzaku templates (1.5 MB)

Send us your tanzaku!

You can submit a photo of your finished Tanzaku to us on or before Friday 7 August 2020 to be included in our gallery of Tanabata wishes. Send a photo of your finished tanzaku to or tag us on social media. Please visit our Tanzaku page and our Tanabata Festival resource for more information.