Home » Zojoji Tanabata Festival 2022 in photos

Zojoji Tanabata Festival 2022 in photos

Tanabata, the Star Festival, returned to Zojoji in 2022.  I doubt there are better places for it in Tokyo.  The temple is beautiful, and Tokyo Tower soars above it in the background.  And for this event, there were 3700 candles in the courtyard!  It was a beautiful sight.

Zojoji temple and Tokyo tower on smartphone screen

The candles represented the stars of the Milky Way.  It plays a central part in the Tanabata story.  And under the evening and almost cloudless night skies, it was so beautiful.

Zojoji tempel steps covered in candles

There was a big crowd for the event.  It was like every man and his dog had turned up.  Many had obviously come straight after work finished.  Some had brought dates or came with their families.  There were so many people trying to get their photos.

Actually, I need to clarify about the candles.  In pre-pandemic years the candles started near the Sangedatsumon Gate to the temple.  This year they were only on the two staircases.  So there were fewer this time, but it wasn’t a problem.  The display still looked like the Milky Way.  I got the feeling the crowd was satisfied.  

Zojoji Tanabata Festival with many people taking photos on smartphones and Tokyo Tower behind

Do you know the Tanabata story?

There once was a princess named Ori.  She was the daughter of Tentei (Sky King).  Her job was to weave clothes.  She did this on the bank of the Amanogawa (Milky Way).  Her father loved her work because she was so good at it.

Tanabata candles on steps of Zojoji Temple

But Ori wasn’t.  She worked hard and could never meet anyone.  This worried her father, who arranged for her to meet a prospective partner.  That was Hikoboshi, who was a cowherd.  He lived and worked on the other side of the Amanogawa. 

Zojoji Tanabata Festival candles on temple steps

When the two young people met, they fell instantly in love and married. But that caused some problems in the heavens.  Ori no longer weaved, and Hikoboshi let his cows stray all over the sky.  

Tentei separated the two lovers across the Amanogawa.  He also forbade them from seeing each other.  Ori was overwhelmed.  The loss of her husband caused her so much grief.  She begged her father to let them meet.

Her father relented and allowed the two to meet annually, on the 7th day of the 7th month.  There was a condition: she had to finish her quota of weaving.  And that was the origin of the Tanabata festival.

Candles on steps for Zojoji Tanabata Festival

Photography at Zojoji Tanabata Festival 2022

It is a little difficult because there isn’t much light.  Candles are notoriously dim, and the light of Tokyo Tower is far away.  Here are my tips:

  1. Photograph with your camera wide open
  1. Put your ISO as high as possible but try to keep noise and grain under control.
  1. Use a low shutter speed, but watch out for blur.  People who have IBIS on their cameras are so lucky! 
Tanabata candles on Zojoji steps with Tokyo behind in evening

Where is Zojoji?

Zojoji is very close to Tokyo Tower.  You can read more about the temple in this article.  It has all the information you need.

Wrapping up

Zojoji Tanabata Festival 2022 was a great night.  The layout of the candles as the stars in the Milky Way was on point.  It was a splendid night in the temple’s courtyard, with Tokyo Tower lighting the night behind.

Zojoji and Tokyo on smartphone screen with candles behind

For more Tanabata articles, look at:

Please leave your questions and comments below.

6 thoughts on “Zojoji Tanabata Festival 2022 in photos”

  1. Pingback: A different Tanabata in Asagaya 2017 - Tokyo in Pics

    1. Thank you for dropping by and your kind comments Mirasyahda. Yes, it is a beautiful festival. Zojoji is such a great place for it. You should see it one day. Hopefully, someone will guide you there!

  2. Pingback: Zojoji is a beautiful temple in the heart of Tokyo - Tokyo in Pics

  3. I came across this blog when I searched for Yukio Mishima’s burial place. Love your pictures. Great blog! Now I miss Japan even more.

    1. Thanks Mirma! Tama cemetery is a great place for a walk. It is so beautiful and has a lot of history. I hope you get to visit it one day. Please visit Tokyo in Pics again. I try to add articles as much as I can.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.