Visitors to Kinosaki Onsen on September 10 will be treated to a magical evening during the Harvest Moon Festival! Also known as Tsukimi (literally meaning “moon viewing” in Japanese), the Harvest Moon Festival is an annual event taking place during the autumn season in Japan.
With the celebration of Tsukimi comes the retelling of ancient legends, including the tale of how the moon received its craters. Legend in Japan says that a rabbit is responsible for the craters dotting the moon’s surface due to his love of creating mochi, a Japanese dessert created by pounding dough made from rice (those wearing yukata, a light cotton kimono, during their stay in Kinosaki on the evening of Tsukimi might consider decorating their outfit with rabbit-themed accessories).
Due to the celebration’s association with autumn and a bountiful harvest, Japanese pampas grass decorations are also a common sight during this tranquil evening.
With roots dating back to the Nara Period (710-794 AD), Tsukimi and its traditions, including moon-viewing and thanking the gods for a plentiful harvest, have been passed down from generation to generation throughout the centuries with customs slightly varying across the country.
The locals of Kinosaki Onsen decorate one of the willow tree bridges in town with lanterns, pampas grass, and mochi, providing hot spring-hoppers a gorgeous display honoring Tsukimi with a unique Kinosaki ambiance. During one’s stroll through the cozy hot spring town, it is recommended to pause for a moment and appreciate not only the historical Tsukimi decorations, but also the peaceful simplicity of the moonlight illuminating the Otani River.
We hope visitors to Kinosaki Onsen during Tsukimi will be able to find peace and relaxation during this moonlit autumn tradition!