Today it rained continuously during the tour and we felt chilly for the month of July. Despite the weather we could welcome 11 guests at the starting point, the first Torii gate of the Meijijingu shrine. All the guests were from USA except for a guest from Germany.
We divided the guests into four small groups, 2 or 3 guests for each, so that our guides could be as attentive as possible to each individual guest.
The shrine’s inner garden and the Takeshita-dori Street seemed to be a little bit less crowded than usual. That was good for us as we always held umbrellas during the tour.
Harajuku Takeshita-dori Street:
We noticed a bamboo ornament for Tanabata festival at the Shrine gate and another at Takeshita-dori. Tanabata(七夕) festival, held on the 7th day of the 7th month, is one of the traditional five seasonal festivals.
In the summer night sky you can see two bright stars, Vega and Altair, facing each other at the opposite side of the Milky Way.
According to the legendary tale, Orihime-star(Weaving Princess, Vega) and Hikoboshi-star(Cowherd, Altair) once got married but were separated by the God of Heaven for some reason. After that they were allowed to meet only once a year, on 7th of July.
A legendary tale says that when it rains on that day Orihime cannot cross the Milky Way to meet Hikoboshi as the water level of the Milky Way gets too high.
Today people write their wishes on colored paper strips and hang them on bamboo branches to celebrate Tanabata. The custom started in Edo period. At that time people wished only to improve their literature skills. Today they can wish for everything!
(Posted by Chino)