Chushu-no-meigetsu – night of the harvest moon

We are enjoying a beautiful akibare clear blue autumn sky today, perfect conditions for viewing tonight’s full moon. Tonight’s full moon is no ordinary full moon, however. Today is Chushu-no-meigetsu (中秋の名月) , the fifteenth day of the traditional lunar calendar, also known as Jyugo-ya.

The day of the “Harvest Moon”, it traditionally marked the start of the annual harvest and it is a day when many people all over Japan pay particular attention to the night sky, enjoying moon viewing parties and some special foods such as tsukimi dango (spherical sweet white dumplings that represent the full moon ). Google Japan has marked the day with a Chushu no meigetsu themed Google Doodle.

Harvest Moon Google Doodle

Tonight’s full moon is extra special as it actually falls on the Jyugo-ya. This is not always the case, and although the full moon and the date have coincided 3 years in a row, they will not coincide again until 2021!

Shukkei-en Garden remains open until 9pm tonight and visitors can enjoy a Moon viewing tea ceremony until 8pm for ¥800, or ¥600 in the less formal garden seating. There is also and hour of live classical music from 6:30pm. Those in Iwakuni can enjoy the moon from the mountain top Iwakuni Castle as the ropeway is staying open late tonight too. Less traditional surroundings, but you may catch a look at the moon from the roof of Mitsukoshi where international musicians are providing the soundtrack to the end of the beer garden season.

To get you in the mood, here is a short traditional moon viewing song called “Usagi”.

Usagi usagi
Nani mite haneru
Juugoya o-tsuki-sama
Mite haneru

Wherever you find yourself, take a moment tonight to cast your eyes up towards the heavens.


Paul Walsh

Paul arrived in Hiroshima "for a few months" back in 1996. He is the co-founder of and loves running in the mountains.