Tanabata Party

Tanabata Party Food

Tanabata is a Japanese star festival. According to a folktale, Hikoboshi (star Altair) and Orihime (star Vega) were lovers and separated by the Milky Way to only meet once a year. Typically people celebrate on July 7.

Since I was a kid I loved learning about other cultures and especially holidays. In college I studied Japanese language and culture. I have lived in Japan and visited many times. I love celebrating holidays and throwing parties. I enjoyed my Hinamatsuri party so much that immediately afterward I started planning this Tanabata party. A friend who lives in Japan was amazing and sent me many fun Tanabata things to use. Eight children and three adults attended this party.

We made decorations, wrote out wishes, and hung them from bamboo. I had so much fun searching for, coming up with and making themed food for this party. My young guests were thrilled to celebrate with us and learn a little about this Japanese festival.

Table setting:

  • Black paper plates
  • Black and white paper straws (from Michaels)
  • Black napkins with white stars (from Michaels)
  • Silver plastic tablecloth

Tanabata Table Setting

Tanabata Tablesetting


I choose dark drinks to be reminiscent of the night sky.

  • Chocolate milk
  • Grape juice

Grape Juice

Grape Juice


  • Blue tortilla chips with salsa
  • Edamame
  • Fruit cups with stars (apple shooting stars, watermelon stars, red grapes, blueberries, pineapple)
  • Alfredo Pasta Pie with Toasted Bread Stars (I did not exactly follow the recipe, I made my own cheese sauce and used cheddar. I did not use the basil, tomatoes, and green onions because I was serving kids. I did not put the bread stars under the pasta.) with Hikoboshi & Orihime (inspired by this.) I made their bodies out of bell pepper, faces out of cheese, and hair details are from dried seaweed. I put the characters on after baking but their faced did eventually melt into the hot pasta.
  • Tanabata layered rice (I was inspired by this.) I filled mine with sauteed onion, black beans, and diced tomatoes. I topped it with snow pea and 2 stars.
  • Roasted Zucchini
  • Make your own Milky Way Pasta (I made spaghetti and tossed with a little butter. The kids put cucumber and carrot stars on top and added paper  Hikoboshi & Orihime picks.) I re-sized this to make the picks.
  • Star shaped rice balls with melted cheese
  • Star dish with Japanese snacks

Tanabata Fruit Cups

Tanabata Fruit Cups

Tanabata Pasta Pie

Tanabata Pasta Pie

Tanabata Layered Rice

Tanabata Rice

Make Your Own Milky Way Pasta

Make Your Own Milky Way

Star Cheese Onigiri

Cheese Star Onigiri

Star Snack

Star Snack


  • MilkyWay candy
  • Star brownies with powdered sugar and sprinkle stars (I used Ghirardelli Double Chocolate mix)
  • Tanabata cookies (I was inspired by this)
  • Grape jam tarts (I made a pie crust, fitted into a mini muffin pan, spooned in grape jam, added 2 stars and baked)

MilkyWay Candy

Milky Way Candy

Grape Tanabata Tartlets

Grape Jam Tartlets

Star Bownies

Star Brownies

Tanabata Cookies

Tanabata Cookies


Tanabata Bamboo

Tanabata Bamboo

Tanzaku (Wishes)


Tanzaku Paper and Ties

Tanzaku Paper and Ties

Tanabata Net Decoration

Tanabata Net Decoration

Tanabata Decoration Kit

Tanabata Decoration Kit

Tanabata Decorations

Tanabata Decorations


Tanabata Folder with Stickers

Tanabata Folders

Back of Tanabata Chocolate

Back of Tanabata Chocolate

Tanabata Chocolate Open

Tanabata Chocolate

About eclecticlamb

This entry was posted in Crafts, Food, Party Planning and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

28 Responses to Tanabata Party

  1. This party is incredible! I can’t wait to plan a tanabata party next year!

  2. eclecticlamb says:

    Thank you so much!

  3. My3Monsters says:

    So cute!! I love this!!

  4. eclecticlamb says:

    Thank you so much!

  5. gavmomof2 says:

    What a beautiful story and celebration! I loved the figures made out of pepper – they came out perfectly! I’m sure kids and adults alike will always remember this special dinner. What a great way to learn a cultural tradition 🙂 ~maria

  6. eclecticlamb says:

    Thank you so much Maria!

  7. bernadetteyoungquist says:

    The Japanese have such fun traditions. Love your party food!

  8. You thought of everything…including Milky Way bars!

  9. Adorable! If I was doing this, I’d probably come up with some kind of kabob with star themes as well.
    And… no starfruit?
    What are you going to do with your Tanabata wishes (post-Tanabata)? There’s a protocol for those as well.

  10. eclecticlamb says:

    Thank you so much! It was a fun party.

  11. eclecticlamb says:

    Thank you! I love party planning.

  12. eclecticlamb says:

    Thank you! I had planned a blueberry and star watermelon kabob but ran out of time. I know that people used to throw the wishes in the river but it is now prohibited by law. What do people do now?

  13. Burning if possible. In Japan, many places have a special Tanabata pick up or dumping area. Since you’re not in Japan, I guess you could throw them away.
    But I like the idea that the burnt wishes will reach the heavens. I’ve always used an old coffee can to burn my tanzaku.

  14. *Wisher* says:

    wow.. such a lovely party.. and I love all the star-shaped cut out food.. i’m attracted to that.. and those hand made decoration..
    everything looks so yummy.. 🙂

  15. galleryoftheheart says:


  16. So interesting! Thanks.

  17. This looks like a wonderful celebration. I love all the little details.

  18. eclecticlamb says:

    Thank you so much!

  19. What a fantastic way to mark the occasion! Love how the star theme is carried through and the rice cakes look yummy!

  20. eclecticlamb says:

    Thank you so much! I enjoyed creating food for this party.

  21. eclecticlamb says:

    Thank you so much!

  22. Amanda Miller says:

    Amazing party! Do you have a copy of the little boy (Hokiboshi) and girl (Orihime) figures on sticks for Tanabata? Thanks!

  23. Amanda Miller says:

    Excellent-thanks! They look so cute in the bowls of pasta!

  24. eclecticlamb says:

    Thank you so much! They were fun to make.

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