The Japan Society
Education Events & Special Programmes

Tanzaku: Write your Wish for Tanabata Star Festival

tanzaku image

Tanabata Wishes

Tanabata is a summer festival based on an old story which tells of the annual reunion of two lovers in the Milky Way. The characters in the story represent two stars, Vega and Altair, and so it is also known as the ‘Star Festival’. 

The Tanabata Festival brings a splash of colour to public spaces across Japan as beautiful decorations go up on display. As part of the celebrations, it is a custom to write a wish on a coloured strip of paper called tanzaku and hang it up on bamboo. 

As many of us have been reflecting on our hopes for the future recently, this year seems particularly apt for writing a tanabata wish on tanzaku. We have created a gallery to display our tanabata wishes this year and would love to see your wishes too. 

How to Take Part

  • We invite everyone to make a tanzaku decoration and share their tanabata wish with us. To be included in our gallery, please send your contributions on or before Friday 7 August 2020. You can write your wish in English or Japanese.
  • Visit our 'How to make a Tanzaku' page for video instructions on how to make a tanzaku decoration and ready-made templates. You can also download the template as PDF: Tanzaku template (1.5 MB).

  • Send a photo to or upload it on social media with the hashtag #JS2020wish. Where possible, please take your photo in portrait format and make sure your wish is visible or included in the text of your social media post/email. 
Upload the photo of your tanzaku with the hashtag #JS2020wish:
facebook link Twitter link Instagram link
  • We will try to upload your contribution as quickly as possible, but please allow up to a week for your wish to appear in the gallery.

  • By sending us your photo or tagging us on social media, contributors agree to its publication on our website and social media. We will include your name in the caption underneath your photograph in the gallery. Please let us know if you would prefer for your contribution to be anonymous.

Tanabata Video

Watch our video to learn more about Tanabata and the Tanabata story. For more resources and activities on Tanabata, visit our Tanabata Festival page in Online Resources.

Tanzaku Gallery