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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Viewing the Harvest Moon in Kyoto

Daikakuji Temple pondお月見京都

From ancient times, Japanese have enjoyed moon viewing.

Known in Japanese as "tsukimi," the harvest moon of September is perhaps the most important in the lunar calendar.

To celebrate both the harvest and the beauty of the full moon, parties are held in and around Kyoto every September. They are thought to have begun in Heian Period, some 1,000 years ago.

Aristocrats would recite poetry under the moon as they ate special sweets (tsukimi dango, or rice dumplings).

In Kyoto there are many famous spots for enjoying the moon. Below is a list of events in Kyoto associated with the harvest moon.

September 19 - 21

Daikakuji Temple Osawa Pond

Osawa Pond is perhaps the best-known spot in the city for moon-viewing. It is possible to go out on boats in which a tea ceremony is held. It costs 1,000 yen for boat ride and tea ceremony, 800 yen for tea by the pond. However, sitting on the grassy banks with a bottle or two of wine and friends is equally pleasant.

September 19

Shimogamo Shrine

On this night traditional dance and music is performed from 5:30.

September 19

Kamigamo Shrine

Following a dance performance, sweet dumplings and sake will be offered to the first 300 people from 5:30 on.

September 19

Hirano Shrine

From 6:30, traditional music and dance will be performed. There are many night stalls selling souvenirs and food are set up in the grounds of the shrine.

September 20 & 21

Taizo-in Temple in Myoshinji Temple

On these two nights, a moon viewing and tea ceremony party will take place. The tea ceremony begins at 5:30. If you have 9,000 yen and a reservation, you can dine, enjoy a tea ceremony, view the garden - and of course gaze at the moon.

Tel: 075 467 1666


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