Where to watch the autumn moon

Lunar loonies and seasonal snacks – the time for tsukimi is here

Where to watch the autumn moon

Photo courtesy of Tokyo Metropolitan Park Association

The 15th night of the eighth month of the traditional lunisolar calendar (September 8 for 2014) is viewed as particularly auspicious for observing the autumn full moon, and plenty of tsukimi (moon-watching) events are taking place in and around Tokyo on this date. Whether you choose to head out to a museum, climb Tokyo Tower or visit an Edo-era mansion out in the woods, the recipe is usually quite familiar: performances of traditional music, seasonal snacks and a whole lot of lunar loonies. Also, if you miss the full moon, there's always the celebration of the waxing moon, held on October 6 this year.

Moon-Watching at Mukojima Hyakkaen

Sep 7-9 | Mukojima Hyakkaen
Marking 210 years since the founding of this Edo-era flower garden, Mukojima Hyakkaen extends its opening hours over three days for this traditional moon-watching event, which includes shinobue flute performances, lantern-lighting, tea ceremonies and koto playing. Held at a time when summer gives way to autumn, this one should be great for anyone looking for remains of old Edo in the bustling city.
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Full Moon Diamond Veil

Sep 8 | Tokyo Tower
Tokyo Tower gets in on the tsukimi fun with this special light-up event, which sees the tower coloured in pink and blue for the full moon. Check out the gorgeous sight from afar before heading up to the Main Observatory, which in turn will be lit up with live candles.
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Moon-Viewing at Miraikan

Until Sep 8 | National Museum of Emerging Science & Innovation
Odaiba's Miraikan marks the autumn full moon with a week-long special program, including two days of extended opening hours. These 'Night Museum' events allow visitors to admire the huge globe-shaped Geo-Cosmos monitor's image of the Moon at night while listening to performances of traditional Japanese music. You can also catch a talk on the relationship between humans and the Moon, or just take in the nighttime museum's strangely captivating atmosphere.
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One Night Illusion

Sep 13-14 | Okamoto Taro Memorial Museum
Employing video and large-scale projectors, the Taro Okamoto Museum's annual moon-watching event transforms the building and its garden into a world of mystery. The museum will be open until 8.30pm on the night, giving visitors the chance to check out both the exhibitions and this special event. Note that this one tends to get extremely crowded early in the evening – heading over around 8pm is recommended.
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Taketoro Festival & Moon-Watching

Sep 20 | Misono Park Yokomizo Yashiki
600 bamboo lanterns (taketoro) will be lighting up the woods around the Edo-era Yokomizo mansion, making for a beautifully mysterious sight. Koto performances will also take place at this annual festival, which celebrates the autumn moon and sees vendors set up stalls selling tsukimi dango and other seasonal snacks. There's only room for 500 participants, so make sure to arrive early.
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13th Night Moon-Viewing

Oct 6 | Jindaiji
Taking place at Chofu's Jindaiji on the 13th night of the ninth month of the traditional lunisolar calendar, a date viewed as particularly auspicious for observing the waxing moon, this one is the event of choice for late-autumn moon-watchers. Try the tsukimi dango or Jindaiji's famous soba and enjoy performances of traditional Japanese music.
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By Time Out Tokyo Editors
Please note: All information is correct at the time of writing but is subject to change without notice.


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