Full Moon Festival in Daikakuji Temple

Full Moon Festival in Daikakuji Temple

The hot summer has passed, and the mornings and evenings have become cooler. Speaking of autumn, there are various traditions such as "art", "culture", "harvest", "food", and "sports".


Today, I would like to introduce you to one of the events that is unique to this time of year, “Otsukimi”. "Otsukimi" is an event to admire the beautiful moon reflected in the clear night sky of autumn.It was introduced from China in the Heian period, when aristocrats and intellectuals floated boats on the pond, enjoying orchestral music and singing. It seems that it was a very elegant event, such as singing. After the Edo period, this custom spread to the common people, and it became an event to celebrate the harvest of rice, offering things that looked like the moon (dumplings) and harvested items (Japanese pampas grass, potatoes, etc.). 


Japanese pampas grass = protect the harvest from disasters and evil spirits, and pray for a good harvest in the following year 

Dango = Express gratitude for the harvest to the moon 

Moon-viewing in Daikakuji

This year, September 10th is the full moon in 2022, and I came to see the moon-viewing party held at Daikakuji, the former Saga Imperial Palace in Kyoto. 

Sutra chanting echoes in the clear night sky. While we were waiting for the moon to rise, the monk told us, ``Let's enjoy the moon in the same space as 1200 years ago, as if we were invited by Emperor Saga.'' I'm kind of excited ~.

An altar is set up in a place where the moon can be seen, dumplings, potatoes and vegetables are offered to pray for a good harvest and the happiness of the people.

This event, which is held in mid-September every year, is available for those who have pre-booked a special ticket, but even if you don't have a ticket, you can enter for 500 yen and enjoy walking around the pond. 

Aristocrats used to sing songs on boats. It's such an elegant game.

On the night of the 12th, at around 7:45 pm, the moon finally began to emerge from the clouds. The moon reflected in Osawa Pond and the two moons are very beautiful.

The hazy moon creates a more fantastic atmosphere, I was able to immerse myself in the elegant feeling while thinking about the detached palace of 1200 years ago.

It was a night when my heart was cleansed. By all means, please come to Kyoto at this time next year and enjoy the moon-viewing party.


How to get to Daikakuji Temple

(1) From Kyoto Station
1. About 50 minutes by city bus No. 28 (get off at Daikakuji, 230 yen for adults)
2. About 40 minutes JR Sanin Line + on food  (get off at Saga-Arashiyama Station, walk 15 minutes from there, 200 yen for adults)
(2) From Shijo Karasuma
1. About 50 minutes by city bus No. 91 (get off at Daikakuji, 230 yen for adults)

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