The sweet relation between Tsukimi and Wagashi, Japanese traditional sweets

The sweet relation between Tsukimi and Wagashi, Japanese traditional sweets

In Japan there has long been a tradition of admiring the beauty of the moon called Tsukimi. In 2018, the brightest and most beautiful full moon, known as “chushu-no-meigetsu” in Japanese, can be seen on September 24.( 〃 ❛ᴗ❛ 〃 )

Allow me to introduce you to the sweet relation between Tsukimi, famous Japanese custom in the fall, and Wagashi, Japanese traditional sweets.


What is Tsukimi?

Tsukimi is an old Japanese custom of viewing the moon when it is bright and beautiful. This takes place in the fall, and offerings of Tsukimi Dango, Japanese pampas grass, and taro are presented to the moon. The offerings are to give thanks to the moon for a bountiful harvest.



What is Tsukimi Dango?

The most famous Japanese sweet eaten during Tsukimi is Tsukimi Dango. These are round dumplings made of Mochi (sticky and chewy rice cakes) that are stacked into a pyramid shape and offered to the moon as a symbol of gratitude. Slightly different from normal offerings, Tsukimi Dango are eaten after being presented to the moon. It is said that this allows one to receive power from the moon and live healthily.



Typically, Tsukimi Dango itself doesn’t have any sauce or toppings, so when people eat Tsukimi Dango they add sauces or toppings of their choice, such as red bean paste.

Related post: what is japanese red bean paste, anko? types and how to eat at home

However, in these days, eating regular Dango is getting more popular instead of Tsukimi Dango so you see many Dango in this Tsukimi season.

Related post: what is dango? the 5 most popular types of dango



Rabbits sweets for Tsukimi

During the Tsukimi season, In addition to Tsukimi Dango, you may find many Japanese sweets are made in shapes of “rabbits” for people to enjoy.





Why rabbits for Tsukimi?

There are many treats featuring rabbits during Tsukimi. This is because there is an old legend that says there are rabbits who live on the moon, and they are pounding rice into Mochi.

First, the origin of this tale is said to be in India. These stories made their way to Japan through Buddhism and were then widely spread in Japan.

The Mochi pounding part of the story appears to have originated in China. In ancient China, it was believed that rabbits could make an elixir of immortality. However, when the story came to Japan, the elixir was changed to Mochi.

Interesting story, isn’t it?



There are many cute and delicious sweets during Tsukimi season. If you visit Japan in Tsukimi season, please try to find Tsukimi Dango and rabbits sweets!


Matane! (in Japanese, means “see you soon!”)

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