Tanabata in Asagaya the old way in 2018

paper-mache Chewbacca

Did you know Japan celebrates Tanabata in July and August? It does, and there is a simple reason for it. Some places hold it following the modern calendar, while others follow the old. And the Asagaya Pearl Center, a shopping arcade in Suginami ward, does things the old way! This retro-style shopping mall puts on a fantastic family event. This year the crowd was big, as always!

Totoro at Asagaya Tanabata 2018

In case you didn’t know, the Pearl decorates the length of its roof with giant paper-mâché dolls. It would be about one kilometer in length, not too far to walk. But, when it is crowded, you have to make your way through the mass of people. If you want to see all the dolls, it might take time!


And the dolls that hang from the ceiling could be anything. They ranged from Star Wars’ Chewbacca to King Tut. Even Donald Trump and Kim Jon Un put were there, looking very friendly together. Imagination is the only limit. Creators put much effort into them.

Asagaya Pearl Center Tanabata in Asagaya

There were a few dolls that we see every year, like Doraemon, Thomas the Tank Engine, and Anpanman. I didn’t see Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow character from Pirates of the Caribbean in 2018, which was a pity. Funnily though, I’ve never seen any of his movies.

giant Samurai Japan soccer player

As usual, I always have problems with my timing. I went on Sunday after school in my work clothes, even though it was hot and humid. By the time I finished, sweat had covered me. And I was thoroughly exhausted. I don’t regret it, though, as I enjoy photographing there.

Donald Trump and Kim Jon Un

If you are after a Tanabata event in August, head to the Pearl Center in Asagaya, as it is a good event. The paper-mâché dolls are great, and many shops have stalls out front that sell food and drink. It’s a fun event!  

giant Anpanman

What camera gear did I use for Tanabata in Asagaya 2018?

  • Camera body: Fujifilm X-T2
  • Fujifilm Lenses: XF 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR

For other Tanabata articles, look at:

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