Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Tanabata Matsuri in Kinosaki

Experiencing the "Tanabata" Festival in Kinosaki was probably one of the most magical moments I have ever felt in my life! (If you have time, you really should read the beautiful story behind it!)

Although it was the 3rd time I've been to Kinosaki, it was my first time to actually walk around in yukatas and go in and out of all the public onsens there.

Anne Marie and I emerged totally relaxed and refreshed from the first of the beautiful onsens and were wandering around the beautiful willow lined streets. Along with all the other visitors in the Kinosaki, we clopped around in our wooden sandals and our cotton robes (yukatas), and stumbled upon a shrine crowded with people.

In the open area in front of it, there were at least 10 tall bamboo trees streaming with colorful papers. The hundreds of glowing candles and the delicate music-boxy music made it even more magical.

Children were running around, lovers held hands and gazed at each other, and hopeful teenagers scrawled their wishes on colorful strips of paper and hung then from the leaves of the bamboo stalks.

It was one of the happiest times I have ever felt in Japan....

Anne Marie and I went to 3 onsens that night and 1 more the next morning. Each one had a different type of style, from traditional Japanese to a Romanesque Moroccan style bathhouse! The water in these onsens were SOOOOOOO hot!!!!

We slept on futons on the floor of our ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) and enjoyed a full Japanese breakfast of (whole) grilled fish, rice, tofu, seaweed, assorted pickled vegetables, and tea!

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