The Tanabata Festival Decorations

The Tanabata celebration originates from a tale in Chinese mythology over 2,000 years old. The fable is about a happily married couple that were separated by the wife’s angry father to each side of the Milky Way, only allowed to reunite on Tanabata, the 7th of July. The Tanabata is celebrated throughout Japan, and Tanabata festival decorations are very popular. People decorate bamboo trees with colourful pieces of paper to celebrate the couple’s reunion. People also write their wishes on strips of paper and hang them from bamboo branches, which is said to make their wishes come true.


Illustration of a green bamboo branch with colourfu blue, purple, yellow, orange and pink tanabata decorations hanging off of it.

Tanabata Origami Decorations

Tanabata festival decorations are mostly made with origami paper. You may be interested in what kind of Tanabata origami decorations there are, so here are some popular ones that you would see hanging from the bamboo trees.


  • Paper Kimono - to ward off bad health and accidents
  • Paper streamers - to become better weavers
  • Paper nets - good harvests and good catch
  • Paper cranes - long life, health, and safety
  • Paper purse - prosperity
  • Paper bin bags – to take care of things, not wasting
  • Paper lanterns – to brighten up your spirit
  • Paper shells – good catch
  • Paper rings – connection with people


They are easy to make, and we shared a post of how to decorate them on our Instagram and Facebook page. Why not have a look? Amongst those colourful decorations, you will see colourful strips of paper. They are called Tanzaku, and people write their wishes on them and hang them on bamboo trees. There are five specific colours that are used for its own meaning. Those colours and meanings are:

  • Blue (green) - Morality
  • Red - Gratitude
  • Yellow - Trust
  • White – Sense of responsibility
  • Black (violet) – Diligence


Why don’t you get yourself a bamboo branch, write a wish on a strip of paper and hang it along with the paper decorations? Your wish may come true!


Teal coloured tanabata card decoration hanging from a bamboo tree with Japanese calligraphy written on top.


We hope you have enjoyed learning about Tanabata festival decorations and can see how easy it is to re-create them at home! To learn more about Japanese culture and festivities, follow us on Instagram and Facebook or take a look at our blog.

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