A Report of Tanabata Days in Tokyo Disney Sea, Japan – Tanabata Festival in Disneyland

It’s time to talk about Tanabata (Japanese Star Festival) in Tokyo Disney Resort!

Tanabata Greetings in Tokyo Disney Sea, 2015

If you have been reading Tokyo Direct Diary for long, (Thanks!) you will shout, “Oh, Fantastic! It’s Tanabata in Disneyland!!”
But if you don’t know Tanabata at all, I know that you are completely lost, saying in your mind, “What’s that???”
This post is for people like following.

  1. You are an enthusiastic Disney fan and completely lost. “I heard of Tanabata Days… or Star Festival in Disney Land in Japan, but what’s that??? How is it like????”
  2. You are thinking of visiting Japan, or really staying there, and looking for some “Only-in-Japan” experience.
  3. You like to see anything interesting, exciting, and/or rare in the world.
So it’s for everyone after all!I visited Tokyo Disney Sea’s Tanabata events. This is my reports, photos, explanations and guides for visitors. Concretely, about 2 things to do and Q & A. (Foods and limited items are coming on my next post.) You can learn the culture and many other things on your sofa.
Just enjoy it!


1: Wishing Place

First of all, to understand the story, I recommend learning the Tale of Tanabata here.
It is a traditional Japanese Star Festival to make wishes on 7 July. Its romantic story attracts little children, young couples, old people, and anyone.

To talk of the most important thing first, Tanabata is Japanese culture and you can see Disney Tanabata Days in no other Disneyland in the world but in Tokyo Disney Resort.
Now you see how special it is!

In Tokyo Disney Resort, you’ll find Wishing Places with Tanabata bamboo decorations.

Tanabata Wishing Place in American Waterfront, Tokyo Disney Sea, & a cast
The bamboos are decorated with origami (easy Japanese paper crafts) & some Mickies!
Beautiful, aren’t they?
Tanabata bamboo decorations in Tokyo Disney Sea
We can get a wishing card from the casts in yukata (summer kimono.)
A wishing card in Disney Tanabata Days, Japan
Originally people write their wishes in a long piece of paper called tanzaku, but it is shaped Micky in Disneyland.
There are tables, pens and strings in the Wishing Place. You write your wish in the back.
What is your wish?
All right? Then, you tie it up here.
Wishing cards tied up in the Wishing Place & a cast, Tokyo Disney Sea, Japan

I’ve uploaded some other photos on my Flickr.May your wishes come true…

Wishing Place in Tokyo Disney Sea
In American Waterfront
Open – 22:00
Free to join
You can get a wishing card from the casts in yukata (summer kimono)

Tip: We can find some wishing places in Disney Resort Line (the loop line just around Tokyo Disney Resort) stations as well as in Disney Land & Sea.

Wishing Place in Resort Gateway Station

2: Tanabata Greetings by Disney Characters

Parades are highlights in Disneylands.
But if it is a highly originated Tanabata parade, it cannot be more fantastic!

Tanabata Greetings in Tokyo Disney Sea, 2015

Micky, Minnie, Ariel, Prince Eric, Jasmine, Aladdin, and my beloved Duffy the Disney Bear & Shellie May in Tanabata costumes come to wish our dreams come true!

Tanabata is originally very Japanese, and it collaborated with American Disney. It’s times, don’t you think so? They sing “When You Wish Upon a Star” for us.

Singing “When You Wish Upon a Star”

As far as I see it, it goes very well with Tanabata. Stars are important in many cultures in the world. Sometimes the similarity makes a fantastic collaboration.

Want to see the costumes?

Micky in Hikoboshi Costume & Minnie in Orihime Costume in Tanabata Tale

If you finally want to know the characters in the original Tanabata tale, it’s here.
Orihime is the heroine and Hikoboshi is the hero.

Duffy in Hikoboshi costume & Shelie May in Orihime costume

What do you feel Disney characters in Japanese Tanabata costumes?
For me, a Japanese local, Duffy’s costume is a little like Mongolia or somewhere rather than Japan…
At least they are Asian after all!

Tanabata Greeting Boat going around Mediterranean Habor, Tokyo Disney Sea

The 2 long decorations on the back of the boat are also traditional Tanabata decorations. Sendai, the central city in Northeast Japan, is famous for the big Tanabata Festival in August (*July in Lunar Calendar is in August in Solar Calendar of today) with this kind of decorations. They are so beautiful with winds.It was a dreamy parade. I love it very much.

Tanabata Greetings
3 times a day
Schedule: 10:45 -, 13:05 -, 16:30 – (in 2015)
Free to see
At Mediterranean Harbor (Just in front of the entrance)
Disney Tanabata Days 2015

24 June – 7 July

Hope you share my amazing trip to Disney’s Tanabata on Tokyo Direct Diary.

And never miss my next post. It will be about super rare items limited & delicious foods in Tanabata Days in Tokyo Disney Sea! See you soon!!

Basics – Q & A

Q1: What is Tanabata?

Tanabata is traditional Japanese Star Festival which mixed up with a Chinese legend on 7 July.
It is a fun and romantic event where people decorate bamboo and make wishes to stars. Original things to do and the tale are here.

Q2: Then, what is “Disney Tanabata Days”?

Tokyo Disney Resort recently started Tanabata events as well as Halloween, Christmas, New Year, Easter, etc. Some Tanabata programs were launched in Land in 2007 and they had been developed after that. In Sea, Tanabata Days started in 2014.

Tanabata paintings in Resort Gateway Station

I suppose it is because people make a wish to stars in Tanabata, and there are similar things in Disney, so they were able to make interesting events.

Things to do & see are as you saw in this post; You can write your wishes at Wishing Place with bamboo decorations and see the parades of Micky, Minnie, Disney Princesses & Princes, and Duffy & ShellieMay. All of them are in Orihime & Hikoboshi costumes. There is also a show titled, “Tanabata Wishing.” Limited items and foods will be in my next post.

So you cannot see Tanabata events anywhere but in Tokyo, Japan!!!

Q3: What is Tokyo Disney Resort in Japan like?

Tokyo Disney Resort consists of Disney hotels, shopping centers and the main TWO Disney Parks; One is Tokyo Disneyland (TDL) and the other is Tokyo Disney Sea (TDS.) Land is the original park that opened in 1983 and Sea was newly opened in 2001.

If you are really visiting Tokyo Disney Resort and looking for accommodation, the list of Disney Official/Partner/Good Neighbor Hotels & each’s special offers are here.

Q4: What is Tokyo DisneySea?

Disney Sea is a theme park “Where Adventure and Imagination Set Sail.”

Aqua Sphere, the symbol of Tokyo Disney Sea

It is one of Disneylands in the world, so you’ll meet Disney characters everywhere, try roller coasters, ride on a merry-go-round and many other attractions, watch a show at the theater, etc.

The difference is that everything in Disney Sea is based on the theme of “sea.”
Walking the 7 areas is like a voyage to the 7 seas in the world. Characters are in voyagers’ costumes, stories are about adventures, many attractions are boats and ships, and everything in Disney Sea is about the ocean.

Talking practically,

  1. Duffy the Disney Bear is only in Sea. You can’t meet Duffy & ShellieMay in Land.
  2. Alcoholic drinks are available only in Sea. Sea features cool and fashionable images beside Land does Disney characters and Disney world.
Q5: Which is better, Disney Land or Disney Sea?

Personally, I definitely push Sea.

  1. Cool, fashionable and romantic atmosphere.
  2. Adventures. I can explore exotic worlds.
  3. Only in Japan. There is no Disney Sea in the WORLD but in Tokyo!!

Frankly, I’m not going to Land when I visit Tokyo Disney Resort for my holiday. Sea is a good theme park to spend my holiday, so I’m satisfied with it completely.

Venetian Gondola in Tokyo Disney Sea, Japan

But there are many people saying that they love Land better than Sea because

  1. They are Disney fans, so Disney things are more important than adventures and cool atmospheres.
  2. They want to ride many kinds of attractions rather than ships

So, if

  1. You are a Disney fan who want to explore Disney AND
  2. You don’t seek rare things limited in Japan. You are not interested in cool atmospheres.
  3. Option: Tokyo is more familiar than California and Florida, which are Disney’s home. You are not an English speaker anyway. You understand Japanese. Or you have any other factors that the USA is LESS convenient as a place to explore Disney.

I believe that Land will be a better place.

In conclusion, it depends on things you want. Of course, you have a choice to spare 2 or more days and visit BOTH!

Q6: Does Tokyo Direct Guide & Diary have more information on Tokyo Disney Resort?

I have made up a list of hotels for international visitors to Tokyo Disney Resort. You can see the special benefits that those hotels offer to guests just in 1 page. Moreover, when you find a favorite hotel, you can book it from the links.

http://tokyo-direct-guide.com/accommodation/disney.html – Tokyo Direct Guide: the Quickest Travel Guide

I’m going to add tips from the viewpoint of a local in the future. When I complete it, I’ll inform you of it on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Please remember and keep checking. When you travel in Tokyo with my sites, just tell me!

Q7: How many and where in the world are Disney lands?

There are 7 Disneylands in the world. One more is going to open in 2016.

  • Disneyland Resort in California (The very original)
  • Walt Disney World Resort in Florida
  • Hong Kong Disneyland
  • Shanghai Disneyland (Going to Open in Spring 2016)
  • Disneyland Paris
  • Aulani Disney Resort & Spa (in Hawaii)
  • Disney Cruise Line (Cruise Ship)

And Tokyo Disney Resort in Japan.

Let me repeat that Disney Sea is only in Tokyo!


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