The culture of Moon Viewing, called (お月見 Otsukimi) has been a tradition in Japan for hundreds of years. Signaling the start of autumn, Otsukimi is a night when families gather together to look at the moon while eating rice dumplings called Tsukimidango (月見団子) and showing thanks for the season’s bountiful harvest. Japanese panpas grass is then displayed as a symbol of an abundant harvest. Originally a holiday for the upperclass, now Otsukimi is celebrated by all Japanese people. It is believed that during Otsukimi you can see a rabbit in the moon, pounding rice dumplings with a hammer.
Otsukimi was traditionally known as Jugoya (十五夜) and it was held on the 15th night of August, during the full moon. Now, under the modern calendar system, Otsukimi is usually held in September or October depending on the waxing and waning of the moon. To this day, families still enjoy the ancient tradition of Otsukimi.
Present day celebrations for Otsukimi include making rice dumplings and putting them out on a traditional tray.