Star Festival Foods
Food stalls called “yatai” sell sweet and savory street foods during all kinds of Japanese festivals across the country. The Tanabata festival features its own traditional foods.
Cold sōmen noodles are popular during the summertime Tanabata festival. These long, thin noodles represent the Milky Way as well as the threads weaved by Orihime. They are served with a light dipping sauce and sometimes garnished with star-shaped slices of boiled okra for kids.
Other foods enjoyed during Tanabata are Takoyaki or “octopus balls.” They are fried dough balls encasing chunks of octopus. Another are Yakitori, grilled chicken skewers that are seasoned with salt or a sauce. There’s also Okonomiyaki, savory pancakes with ingredients and toppings varying from region to region. Last, but certainly not least, are Yakisoba, stir fried noodles with additions like meat and/or vegetables served in a sweet and savory sauce.
A traditional summertime festival held during and around the seventh of July and August, Tanabata is a celebration enjoyed across Japan. This “Star Festival” has rich origins that can be traced back thousands of years, to a legend honoring two star-crossed lovers.