Tsukimi - Moon Viewing Festival

  • Noby Fujioka
  • 28TH SEPTEMBER, 2023 | Updated 6TH OCTOBER, 2023
Tsukimi - Moon Viewing Festival
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Embracing Moonlight: The Tsukimi Moon Viewing Festival in Japan

Close your eyes and imagine a tranquil mid-autumn evening when Japan quietly celebrates the Tsukimi Moon Viewing Festival, also known as Otsukimi, meaning "moon viewing." This tradition pays homage to the autumn moon. The celebration of the full moon typically takes place on the 15th day of the eighth month of the traditional Japanese calendar, known as Jyugoya (十五夜, fifteenth night); while the waxing moon is celebrated on the 13th day of the ninth month, known as Jyusanya (十三夜, thirteenth night). These dates usually fall in September and October of the modern solar calendar.

Why Moon Gazing Matters

Tsukimi is like a cosy moonlit gathering that has been part of Japanese culture for over a thousand years. Today, it's a cherished tradition that brings people together from all walks of life.

The Gentle Magic of the Moon

The full moon isn't just a celestial beauty; it symbolises unity and the abundance of the harvest season. Its soft, silvery light sets the stage for a night of contemplation, gratitude, and quiet joy.

Mochi Moments on the Moon

But here's where the enchantment comes in: many see the moon's surface as resembling a rabbit pounding mochi with a mortar and pestle. It's a delightful interpretation that adds a touch of wonder to Tsukimi as families gather to gaze at the moon and share stories about this celestial mochi-making bunny.

Mochi as a Symbol

Mochi is the star of the show during Tsukimi, and it's not just delicious; it's also deeply symbolic. Crafted from glutinous rice, this chewy rice cake plays a central role in the festivities. Families and friends come together to create and share mochi using traditional techniques passed down through generations. These delightful treats symbolise the abundance of the harvest and the warmth of the community.

Tsukimi,moon Viewing Party,japan

Joining the Tsukimi Tradition

Whether you celebrate on the traditional dates or any mid-autumn night when the moon graces the sky, find a tranquil spot under the open sky, ideally with a clear view of the full moon. Create a small altar with mochi, seasonal fruits, and sake. Then, savour the moon's glow, swap stories, and take a moment to appreciate the blessings of the season.

Last night I had my own quiet moment from my home in the UK. For a few precious minutes, I switched the light off in my room and opened the window and gazed at the moon amid gusty winds, as it peeked out from behind drifting clouds. It was very beautiful and calming.
Tsukimi Uk


The Tsukimi Moon Viewing Festival in Japan is all about finding joy in the moon's embrace, treasuring our loved ones, and honouring our cultural heritage. Step outside, look up and imagine those moonlit mochi-making rabbits. It's a tranquil, heartwarming reminder of the beauty of nature and the connections we share with one another. Don't miss this serene celebration when the moon and its celestial mochi-pounding bunny quietly take the stage!

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