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2020 - 12th Annual Los Angeles Tanabata Festival, Little Tokyo (Arts & Crafts, Food, Games, Entertainment..) [During Nisei Week] Los Angeles (3 Days)Newly Listed

Date: Monday, 10 August, 2020       Time: All Day
Los Angeles Tanabata Festival
Little Tokyo, 100 N Central Ave & First Street
Japanese American National Museum & MOCA at the Geffen
Los Angeles, CA 90012

The Annual LA Tanabata Festival will be held in August in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles. The Festival will offer arts and crafts, traditional Japanese festival foods, games and live entertainment on Saturday and Sunday.

Tanabata Festival Opening ceremony will be held on Friday. The festival admission is free and starts in August.

At the Tanabata Festival Festival features hundreds of gigantic kazari (ornaments) hung in front of MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art, at the Geffin) on Central Avenue and First Street.

This Event is Part of Nisei Week
See Nisei Week Tips

Tanabata Festival Dates & Times 
August 8 - 9 - 11, 2019

Check Website for Changes
Fri: 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm - Tanabata Festival Opening Ceremony, Kazari contest awards presentations, traditional breaking of the Sake barrels. 
Sat: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Sun: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm

Los Angelese Tanabata Festival Celebrates
The Los Angeles Tanabata Festival celebrates its 11th Anniversary this year as part of the annual 78th Nisei Week Japanese Festival. Set for August 2019, in historic Little Tokyo, downtown Los Angeles. The theme this year is “Spirit of Togetherness” with a heartfelt wish of the LA Tanabata Committee for our community.

The festival is admission free and is take place outdoors on Central Avenue and First Street in downtown, Little Tokyo at MOCA and the Japanese American National Museum (JANM).

Opening ceremonies on Friday, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. will include performances by UCLA Kyodo Taiko, Minyo Station the traditional sake breaking ceremony with dignitaries and sponsors highlighted by the announcement of the Kazari contest winners.

New this year is added entertainmentstage on the JANM steps, featuring: Saturday - Cosplay fashion show and two "Burai" samurai sword shows; Sunday - musical performances by Miru Daru, a sibling duet.

The Tanabata Festival is on Saturday, August 10, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday, August 11, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., just before the Nisei Week Grand Parade begins. Admission is free, and the community is invited to see the eight-foot kazari decorations crafted by the members from the community. Come participate by voting for the Annual Kazari Contest People’s Choice Award on Saturday (11 a.m. to 5 p.m.) enjoy performances, visit arts and crafts booths, play games, arts and crafts and enjoy traditional festival (matsuri) food.

The Tanabata Festival features hundreds of the amazing hand crafted kazari Japanese decorations made by members of the community. Participants also celebrate, by writing wishes in small strips of paper (tanzaku) and hanging them from decorated bamboo branches. Games, a beer garden and arts & crafts vendors will be active on both days as well.

Continuous festival entertainment features traditional and contemporary performers, including taiko, classical Japanese and Hawaiian dance, jazz, rock and pop singers in Japanese and English. Saturday highlights include Matsubayashi Shorin-ryu Dojo of Little Tokyo, FOB Four with Brian Yamamoto (Beatles tunes) and Lolita Dark Band/Orchestra with taiko. Sunday features the popular Atomic Project with Atomic Nancy and Benny Yee (original members of Hiroshima), Cosplay Contest and the announcement of the People’s Choice Award. Check our website for a full list of confirmed performers.

Traditional Japanese festival food booths new this year include tamago yaki, Okinawa dango and a food truck. Returning this year will be takoyaki, onigri cold tofu, Fugetsu-do manju, shaved ice, cold drinks and the popular beer garden.

Tanabata is a traditional festival originating from Japan that celebrates the legend of two stars Alistair (Hikoboshi), the Ox Herder and Vega (Orihime), the Weaver Princess. separated by the Milky Way, are reunited when their stars align in the summer constellations. The Tanabata festival celebrates the meeting of these two stars and is known as the Star festival in Japan. Sendai famous for its bamboo decorations is one of the largest festivals having been established over 400 years ago when the city was built by Date Masumune (1567-1636). A festival highlight is the display of the ten award-winning Kazari giant ornaments which are shipped from Sendai.

Yoshihito Yonezawa, former president of the Miyagi Kenjinkai, fulfilled his dream to bring the Tanabata Festival to Los Angeles. Working together with the Nisei Week Foundation, Japanese Prefectural Association of Southern California (Nanka Kenjinkai Kyogikai), and the Little Tokyo Public Safety Association, his wish became a reality in 2009. The support of Ichiro Shiromatsu was integral in establishing the festival in Los Angeles. He has supported the festival since its inception by sending 10 giant award-winning kazari from the long-running Sendai Tanabata Festival. He is the third-generation president of Shiromatsu Ga Monaka, established in 1932 by his grandfather. The company is a multiple award winner for excellent facilities and is nationally known for producing the finest quality confections in Japan.

The festival theme The Spirit of Togetherness prompted comment from Festival chair, Masumi Muya. “We all know that modern life includes news of social, political, and economic distress every day; however, we believe that as a community can care about each other to make it better. Our festival, therefore, aims to unite the community and give everyone reasons to feel they belong since the very core of the Tanabata legend is that everyone hopes to find happiness together,” stated Muya.

She continued, The Los Angeles Tanabata Festival was a dream of Miyagi Kenjinkai member Yoshihito Yonezawa. Along with Brian Kito president of the Little Tokyo Public Safety Association (Koban) they traveled to Sendai, Japan to seek support to establish the Festival in Los Angeles. “We acknowledge our original presenters Nisei Week Japanese Festival, the Japanese Prefectural Association of Southern California and the Little Tokyo Public Safety Association for their continued support and our merchant vendors who continue to support the festival” she concluded.

For information visit our website at:

The Tanabata Festival is located at Central Ave and First St in Little Tokyo, downtown Los Angeles. Admission free the festival is outdoors on the plazas of the MOCA (Museum of Contemporatry Art/Geffen) and the JANM (Japanese American National Museum).

The Little Tokyo Koban is located at 307 E First Street, Los Angeles, 90012, in historic Little Tokyo on First St and John Aiso (San Pedro). Phone 213.613-1911

Tanabata Festival Entertainment Schedule 

FRIDAY - Opening Ceremonies
The 11th Annual Los Angeles Tanabata Festival officially opens.

5:15pm - Taiko with Danny Yamamoto
5:30pm - Minyo Station
5:45pm - Opening remarks by Emcee Grace Shiba & Susan Jekarl
5:50pm - Chairperson’s Welcome - Masumi Muya
5:55pm - Introduction of VIPs
6:25pm - Song “Uchiage Hanabi (Fireworks)” with MiruDaru
6:30pm - Tanabata legend play with Nancy Hayata & Nao Ikeda
6:45pm - Kazari Awards with Gail Matsui
7:00pm - Sake Barrel Breaking

Opening Ceremony Conclusion

Ondo Dancing led by Nancy Hayata, children, and audience

SATURDAY - Tanabata Festival 

All Day
Kazari Exhibits on Display
Vote for Your Favorite!
The People’s Choice Award voting is open to all Tanabata Festival attendees. Stroll the grounds and choose the kazari you think deserves the award. Winner will be announced on Sunday at 2:45pm.

11:00am - 9:00pm
Vendor Booths
Food & Drink, Arts & Crafts
Enjoy authentic Japanese cuisine; shop for that perfect tanabata memorabilia.

11:00am - 8:00pm
JANM Steps Stage
5:00pm : DJ: Yui SensationaL☆
8:00pm : Kawachi Ondo with Shinichi Hirokawa

Under the White Tent - Main Stage
Relax under the big white tent as various individuals and groups provide an assortment of entertainment throughout the day.

11:00am : Chikara Daiko
12:00pm : Matsubayashi Shorin-Ryu Dojo of Little Tokyo with Art Ishii
1:00pm : Minyo Duo “nou-min” with Kayoko Machida
2:00pm : J-Town Rebels Rock Band with Mia Yamamoto and Brian Yamamoto
3:00pm : J-Pop with MiruDaru
4:00pm : Classical Japanese Dance with Nancy Hayata
5:00pm : Kaoru Enjoji Band
6:00pm : Cali Crisis Band with Stephanie Yanez & Indie Artist “Plasmic”
7:00pm : Tokyo Mavericks

SUNDAY - Tanabata Festival 
3:00pm People’s Choice Award - The crowd favorite will be revealed on the Main Stage!
11:00am - 4:00pm Vendor Booths - Food & Drink, Arts & Crafts
Your last chance to feast on all the festival food; shop for that perfect tanabata memorabilia at the different arts and crafts booths.
11:00am - 4:00pm Entertainment - JANM Steps Stage
11:30am : Kendama (not confirmed)
1:30pm : Cosplay Contest sponsored by Anime Expo
3:00pm : Burai Production Samurai Sword
Under the White Tent - Main Stage
Relax under the big white tent as various individuals and groups provide an assortment of entertainment throughout the day.
11:00am : Yuujou Taiko
12:00pm : Burai Production Samurai Sword
1:00pm : O’hana Polynesian Dancers
2:00pm : Pumana Band
3:00pm : Awaodori Hiryu Sakura-Ren

People’s Choice Awards
Schedule Subject to Change. Please check back often for the latest information.

Come Participate in the Kazari Making Workshops (Tanabata Festival)

Workshops are held starting in June to August to help 'first timers' and to show all the new washi paper from Japan. Check website for the full workshop schedule through August, which is subject to change.

Volunteers are needed to put on this event every year.  If you and family members or friends would like to be a volunteer for the LA Tanabata Festival, please come to the first volunteer recruiting meeting at the Little Tokyo Koban (LTPSA) at 307 E. First Street.

For high school students that would like to do some community service, we will issue letters of volunteerism. Come join us and help make our Annual LA Tanabata Festival a success!!!

For more information, please go to our website at or call the Little Tokyo Koban @ 213 613-1911. The Little Tokyo Koban (LTPSA) is open Monday - Saturday, 10am - 6 pm.

The Festival is presented by the LTPSA/Little Tokyo Koban, the Japanese Prefectural Association of Southern California and the Nisei Week Festival.


Tanabata Festival Location
Los Angeles Tanabata Festival, Little Tokyo, 100 N Central Ave & First Street, Japanese American National Museum & MOCA at the Geffen, Los Angeles, CA 90012 

Tanabata Festival Title
2019 - 11th Annual Los Angeles Tanabata Festival, Little Tokyo (Arts & Crafts, Food, Games, Entertainment..) [During Nisei Week] Los Angeles (2 Days)

Monday, 10 August, 2020

Other Dates For This Event

View Series Overview

Event/Festival Contact

Gail Matsui

Phone: (213) 613-1911
Website: Click to Visit

Event Cost

Admission Free

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