September 13, 2019

How to celebrate Tsukimi in Japan

What do you see when you look up at a full moon?

In Japan, people see a rabbit pounding mochi rice cake with his pestle. The full moon in September, when the air is clear and showing the outline of the moon in crisp detail is considered  the most beautiful moon of the year. Tsukimi, meaning “moon viewing” is a Japanese festival honoring the moon and the autumn harvest. It was based on an ancient Chinese folklore about the rabbit which sacrificed himself for the Moon God.

moon offering

Today, Tsukimi is mostly enjoyed through family parties as well as school events. The round white mochi made from rice is offered to the moon as an expression of gratitude for the autumn harvest. Fried or poached egg is also associated with Tsukimi because of its resemblance to the full moon in the sky.

Of course, the food industry does not let the great opportunity slip away. At this time, limited edition products to get consumers in the mood for Tsukimi can be found at fast food restaurants and convenience stores throughout Japan.

A special menu Tsukimi Burger at McDonald’s©, featuring poached egg with a beef patty is quite popular. KFC© offers Tsukimi chicken fillet sandwiches. Tsukimi Pizza at Pizza Hut© is a pizza with sliced boiled eggs on top. GODIVA© offers Tsukimi Chocolat at convenience stores.

moon food

This time of the year, I miss those special treats of Tsukimi in Japan! I made mochi rice cake dessert to celebrate Tsukimi with my family. I hope the weather is clear tonight so that we can enjoy some moon viewing while eating the treat.

moon mochi
The adorable rabbits along with the mochi and the tree stump are all made of Chirimen. It is designed and made by Nobuko Naito, a renowned Chirimen artist and our Chirimen Course supervisor.

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