'Star festival' spectacular lights up Osaka

'Star festival' spectacular lights up Osaka

Osaka's Yodogawa River was lit up for a high-tech LED telling of the centuries-old tale of Tanabata

Aside from the usual fireworks, one of the most spectacular events of summer was held in Osaka on Wednesday, where the city’s Yodogawa River dressed up as the Milky Way for the evening thanks to a high-tech sprinkling of 50,000 floating blue LED lights.

Around 30,000 revelers attended the event, sponsored by bodies as diverse as Panasonic (the lights) and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (the glad-handing, presumably). 

Those at the show were treated to a son et lumière reenactment of the story of Tanabata, featuring the eternal celestial pairing of Vega and Altair, who meet only once a year, supposedly on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month. 

While the floating blue version of the Milky Way may be but a memory -- and a lot of pretty photos -- until next year, the event marked the start of Japan’s holiday season, including July 25’s Tenjin Matsuri in Osaka and Sendai’s even more lauded version of Tanabata in the first week of August. 

Yodogawa River lightsYodogawa River lightsYodogawa River lights

Former Europe, Japan and Australasia Editor Mark Hiratsuka is an Irish-British journalist with a background in sports, technology, travel and science writing, occasionally all on the same page.

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