Make a wish; Seattle Japanese Garden celebrates Tanabata on July 11

Mother and son explore the Seattle Japanese Garden. Photo by Amanda Sarnoski

The Seattle Japanese Garden invites the community to celebrate Tanabata from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Saturday, July 11. The annual Japanese festival is celebrated with magnificent colors, craft making and a tradition of writing wishes. The garden is located at 1075 Lake Washington Blvd E.

Tanabata, (Evening of the Seventh) is based on the legend of Orihime and Hikoboshi, star crossed lovers separated by the Milky Way. According to legend, each year on the evening of July 7, Orihime and Hikoboshi are allowed to reunite for one night. In Japan, Tanabata is celebrated by decorating bamboo branches with origami ornaments and tanzaku, poems or wishes written on small strips of paper.

Visitors will have the opportunity to write wishes and to create vibrant origami figures and kites with volunteers from P.A.P.E.R.  Instructors from Meito-Shodokai will teach visitors the art of Japanese calligraphy. Garden tours will be offered at 12:30 and 2 p.m.

Traditional tea ceremonies will be held at 1 and 2 p.m. in the Shoseian Tea House. A limited number of tea tickets are available at $7 a person, and can be reserved by calling the Japanese Garden ticket booth at (206) 684-4725. There is no charge to observe the tea ceremony from the courtyard.

The Tateuchi Community Room will be open for guests to enjoy complimentary iced green tea, and an art exhibit by Vincent Samudovsky, featuring elegant line drawings of scenes from the Japanese Garden.

Admission for adults is $6; students with ID, youth age 6 – 18, seniors age 65+, and disabled, $4; children age 5 and under, free.  Annual passes will be honored. For more information, please visit www.seattlejapanesegarden.org.

Celebrate Tanabata with the Seattle Japanese Garden July 6

The Seattle Japanese Garden invites the community to celebrate Tanabata from 1-5 p.m. on Sunday, July 6. The festival is celebrated with magnificent colors and a tradition of writing wishes on colorful paper and attaching them to bamboo shoots.

The Tanabata festival celebrates the eighth-century folktale of two star-crossed lovers – literally. Tanabata is based on the legend of two lovers, the Vega and the Altair stars separated by the Milky Way, who are allowed to meet just once a year on the seventh day of the seventh month.

Visitors will have the opportunity to write wishes and to create vibrant origami figures and kites. A storyteller will also share the Tanabata story and other folk tales.

Regular admission prices and Garden passes will be honored. The Seattle Japanese Garden is located at 1075 Lake Washington Blvd. E. For more information, please visit www.seattlejapanesegarden.org.