Tonight was the last night of the Kyo-no-Tanabata night displays along the Kamogawa and the Horikawa. I rather not call it a festival, because it was more about art and there were no food stalls anywhere in sight, although you could put up wishes on bamboo trees as it is traditionally done during tanabata. There are two venues with light installations and art displays, one along Kamogawa between Nijo and Shijo dori and the other along Horikawa north of Nijo Castle up to Imadegawa. I went to the second location and had a couple of hours of fun – although there were lots and lots of people crowding the small walk along Horikawa and taking pictures instead of walking along… I took a number of pictures too, but as I was trying something new with respect to taking pictures at night, very few of them are presentable, unfortunately.
The evening started at Nijo Castle, where there was free entrance to part of the grounds, and a projection of light onto the main castle walls, accompanied by music. It only took ten minutes, probably so that as many people as possible could see it, and I think it was very well done indeed. From there, I went down to Horikawa, a small stream running through town. There is a walkway beside it, but it is relatively narrow, so there was one-way traffic up to the north only, with the single entry point near Nijo castle. You could get out on the way if you wanted to, but not enter. At the entrance there were a number of Tanabata trees and you could buy tanzaku, paper slips, to write your wishes on.
The art displays started with long rows of paper lanterns with calligraphy and paintings. A long band of silk, maybe 80 cm wide, dyed in the famous Yuzen style, flowed through the stream. Horikawa lies close to the Nishiki silk weaving district, and apparently has been used in former times to provide the water for dying and washing the silk. A large tunnel with white, blue, and yellow LED’s resembling the milky way was the main attraction, I think.
The last photo above is the official photo of the milky way, I stole it from the Kyo-no-Tanabata website because it is so much better than any of mine (and there are no people in it…) On the website there are plenty of other pictures, also from the venue at Kamogawa, but some of them appear to be from last year. Anyway, enjoy!