Harvest moon Festival Japan, History, time & date

Harvest Moon Festival dates back to olden times and is celebrated in many countries around the world. In most countries, the Harvest Moon Festival is a happy holiday with lots of gifts and family fun. The name “Harvest Moon” is taken from the Japanese word “hakuseki”, which means “plowing or plowing during the day”. This is what we call a “Fiesta” of sorts, where neighbors meet and share food, good times, and fun. Many people also enjoy the Harvest Moon Festival, as it brings the family together.

Harvest moon Festival Japan time & date

September 21
Tsukimi 2023 in Japan 

The literal translation for” Harvest Moon” is “il plumbei”, which literally means the people of the moon. But according to Japanese tradition, it is a celebration when crops are grown to their maximum in late August. Farmers look forward to this time because they say that during this time, “harvest” will be complete and all of the crops in the area have fully matured. Farmers celebrate this event by decorating their fields, making bonfires, carving mooncakes, and many other such activities. The main reason for holding a Harvest Moon Festival is to rejoice the people and nature.

History and meaning

Since ancient times, Japanese writings have identified the month of September as the best time for viewing the moon, as it is then especially bright. It was thought that the viewer could express gratitude for this year’s harvest and hope for the year to come.

The Tsukimi tradition dates back to the Heian period, from 794 to 1185 A.D. It is thought that moon-viewing parties originated with the introduction of the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival to the aristocratic elite, who would gather to listen to music and recite or compose poetry by moonlight. Some would board boats in order to view the moon’s reflection.

By the 1600s, the custom had become popular with the civilian population as well, where it became associated with existing traditions in which some of the rice harvest was offered to the gods.

Until 1683, the full moon always fell on the thirteenth day of each month. In that year, the calendar was altered so that the full moon fell on the fifteenthMoon viewing parties would then happen throughout the month – some on the thirteenth, others on the fifteenth, regional observances on the seventeenth, and Buddhist religious observances on the twenty-third or twenty-sixth. These celebrations ceased when the Meiji period began in 1868.

Harvest moon Festival Japan

The Harvest Moon festival

This festival is a rather solemn observance. It involves traditional foods, decorations, and the beauty of nature. Some observers also visit shrines, burn incense, or make food offerings to Shinto gods.

Today, some people repeat the customs for several days following the full moon rather than simply on the night of the full moon. When the moon is not visible at festival time, celebrations are still held. They are referred to as Mugetsu or Ugetsu, meaning “no moon” and “rain moon,” respectively.

When it comes to Harvest Moon in Japan, there are many events that are celebrated. If you are planning on taking a vacation to Japan during the timeframe of the said festival, here are some tips to remember in order to maximize your experience. Remember that if you do take a trip to Japan, make sure you do not bring your own car because there are plenty of rental services which offer pick up and drop off locations in and around Harvest Moon City.

First, if you want to experience the true spirit of Harvest Moon in its true form, do not visit the city on the wrong date. Harvest Moon is on the second weekend of January, so try to make your plans to be in Japan on either January fourth or fifth. Also, do not try to hurry into doing any activities. You will definitely want to enjoy everything in its natural habitat without the hustle and bustle of city life.

The most popular activities during Harvest Moon in Japan include eating out at restaurants, strolling through farmhouses, going to local amusement parks, visiting with friends and family, playing traditional games, and more. It is best to visit during the “off season” when most big stores are not open yet. If you are not a fan of restaurants, try to stop by one of the many local bistros for some fresh sushi before heading out to enjoy the fun in the sun. At night, you can also go check out the many Japanese bars and clubs where you will be able to experience some of the most authentic Japanese entertainment.

There are many more fun things to do in Japan aside from the usual activities mentioned above. There are still many great places to eat out, see, and explore. Just be sure to take the time to sample as many Japanese foods as possible during your trip abroad. See you soon on Harvest Moon!


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