Jugoya: Full Moon Viewing – its origin, traditions and things to do in Japan

There are many full moon nights in a year, but that in September is special. It is called “Jugoya”, which is traditional full moon viewing in Japan.

Jugoya is 15 August in Lunar Calendar, which is in September (or early October) in Solar Calendar of today. Since very old times, Japanese people have thought that it is the best season to view the moon. It is said that clear sky in autumn makes the moon brightest in a year. Noble people used to hold a moon viewing party under the full moon and write tankas. (A tanka is a Japanese poem. You may know haiku, which is shorter than tanka.) With these traditions, jugoya appears in many old Japanese poems, novels and essays.

Common people loved “Jugoya”, too. They displayed some rice dumplings, autumn grasses and flowers for the beautiful full moon.

These traditions still remain. Japanese-style confectionery stores sell moon viewing rice dumplings and some florists Jugoya flower arrangements.

Kids enjoy making the rice dumpling decorations, having them, and the moon tale as well as Tanabata, the Japanese star festival in July.

In Japan, and some East Asian countries, the craters on the moon are said to be a rabbit making rice cakes. Starbucks in Taiwan prepare moon-rabbit mugs for this season. (Nothing in Japan… Why?)

The shape of those craters inspired people all over the world and there are so many tales about it. In some countries, it’s considered to be a crab, for example. What stories about the craters have you heard of? How about in your country?




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

twenty + twenty =