This is probably one of the most visited sites of Kyo no Tanabata. The event takes place from August, 6 to 12 from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. This is the only site where it is a one-way path to see the illuminations (from south to north) and to ensure that the path is not too crowded. The walk starts in Horikawa street between the Nijo Castle and the Ana Crowne Plaza Hotel. The path along the Horikawa river is transformed into a fantasy world. The tour is free so you have to enjoy. The stretch of street Horikawa allocated to Kyo no Tanabata is divided into 5 small sections consisting of 5 different illuminations.
The 1st is the traditional avenue of bamboos where you can hang your wishes. There are also stalls where you can buy for 100 yen for the special Tanabata colored strips in order to write your wish. Then there is an avenue of giant lanterns with Yuzen designs and display messages of personalities or celebrities connected to Kyoto. The lanterns are highly colored and placed on either side of the aisle. Continuing the path, you will come across the most popular attraction of the site: the Milky Way. The arch of bamboo illuminated reproducing the Milky Way is impressive. Visitors will discover a romantic world and full of mystery. Personally, within all the lights in Kyoto for Tanabata, this is my favorite (and I think this is the case for all visitors). Then, another section with 40 Tanabata bamboos will be lined on the two sides of the road. The leaves of the bamboo are used to host the wishes of the community's children. Finally, you can enjoy a bit of traditional Kyoto culture with Kyo-Yuzen. This method of dyeing is a tradition that flourished mainly thanks to the high quality of water in the region. This installation showcases the brilliant color layers in the Kyo-Yuzen silk, using water from the Horikawa river and light.
On the occasion of Kyo no Tanabata, if you can make only a single site, it is the Horikawa River site that I recommend. It is magnificent! The Milky Way must be the most anticipated attraction of locals and tourists.