Tokyo in Pics


A photography blog about Tokyo, run by Australian photographer Rohan Gillett

Tanabata in Asagaya - 2018

First we have Tanabata in July and then we get it again in August!  The reason for that is some places hold it again accordance with the modern calendar while some places hold it in accordance with the old calendar.  And one place that holds it in August is the Asagaya Pearl Center, a shopping arcade in Tokyo’s Suginami ward. It is a tremendous family event. And this time, in 2018, the crowd that came was awesome, really, really big.

Chewbacca at the Pearl Center Shopping Arcade in 2018 for Tanabata

Lots and lots of people attended Tanabata in 2018

This pig was probably my favourite of the event

Just in case you didn’t know, the Pearl decorates  the length of its arcade with huge paper-mâché dolls, as well as traditional decorations from its roof.  The arcade is a little over one kilometre in length, so it shouldn’t take too long to walk. However, when it is crowded it takes a long time to get to walk its complete length.  And the dolls that hang from the ceiling could be anything, from Star War’s Chewbacca to King Tut and everything and anything in between. Even Donald Trump and Kim Jon Un put in an appearance, were looking very friendly together.

This King Tut doll must have taken hours of work

Totoro was also there

Baseball anyone?

There were a few dolls there that we see every year like Doraemon, Thomas the Tank Engine and Anpanman.  I didn’t see Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow character from Pirates of the Caribbean this year, nor Pinocchio but everything else that was there was very high quality.  It’s obvious that their creators put so much effort into them.

America’s President Trump and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un

I think everyone knows this Japanese toy, Kentama

As usual, I always have problems with my timing.  I went on the Sunday after work in my work clothes, even though it was incredibly hot and humid.  By the time I finished I was covered in sweat and thoroughly exhausted. I don’t regret is though as I always enjoy photographing there.

Doraemon making his yearly appearance

Anpan Man is another character who is there every year

If you are after a Tanabata event in August (it is also head in July) head to the Pearl Center in Asagaya as it is a good event.  The paper-mâché dolls look great and many of the shops have stalls out front that sell food and drink. The website for the arcade can be seen here.

Tanabata 2018 in Asagaya drew huge crowds

This onigiri was one of my favourites