Moon-Viewing in Japan: O-tsukimi


Hi all,

It’s Harvest Moon right now and it seems like this time of year is crowded with festivals like Korean Chuseok (Thanksgiving), Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival and in Japan Otsukimi or “moon-viewing”.1

The term otsukimi (お月見) just means “moon-viewing”, but is a popular family tradition in Japan. At this time, families gather, sit outside at night together, enjoy treats and have fun. As the picture above shows, some offerings are often put on display and offered some place outside as well:

  • Susuki grass in a vase.
  • Round balls made of mochi called dango.

Sometimes, restaurants will offer special “Tsukimi” meals, including McDonald’s which has a Tsukimi Burger. I wish McD’s in the US had something like this.

Here in Seattle, we tried to do the same thing, though we don’t have susuki grass or dango. Instead, we let our daughter stay up a bit late, and watch the moon from our house. We were very fortunate, because the view was excellent:


The picture isn’t very good, so I spent some time playing with the camera and researching online how to properly view the Moon, and the photograph came out somewhat better:


Close-up, the picture isn’t that good (the lens isn’t really designed for that), but it’s still an improvement.

Anyhow, happy moon-viewing everyone!

P.S. Over at my other blog, I have some posts this month devoted to Autumn and the moon. Hope you enjoy.

1 There is evidence that early forms of Tsukimi were based on the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival during the Heian Period, but have gradually changed over time.


Author: Doug

A fellow who dwells upon the Pale Blue Dot who spends his days obsessing over things like Buddhism, KPop music, foreign languages, BSD UNIX and science fiction.

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