The Harvest Moon

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As the temperature drops and Japan’s famous maple leaves burst into colour, Tsukimi, or ‘moon viewing’ sees friends and family gather in celebration, honouring the beauty of the mid-autumn moon.

A centuries-old tradition, Tsukimi is thought to have originated during the Heian Period when Japanese aristocrats would gather to recite poetry under the eighth full moon of the solar calendar. Today, celebrations are less cerebral and more food-focussed, with festivalgoers honouring the harvest moon with edible offerings – seasonal dishes known collectively as tsukimi ryōri. Gathering under the stars, decorations made from Japanese pampas grass set the scene for enjoying rice dumplings (known as Tsukimi dango), taro, edamame, chestnuts and of course, sake – praying for an abundant harvest under the bright light of the moon.

Photo by Aron Visuals on Unsplash

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