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A Simple Mochi Offering Rich with Kyoto Tradition

鳴海餅なるみもち本店の「月見団子」 1個173円




Narumi-Mochi Honten’s ”Tsukimi-Dango” ¥173

This year, September 29th is the mid-autumn festival Otsukimi or “Moon Viewing.”
Because it’s just after the autumnal equinox, Japanese sweet shops are busier than usual.
Kyoto’s Narumi-Mochi Honten is also very popular for their autumnal equinox “Ohagi,” “Kuri Sekihan” and “Kuri Mochi” made using tambaguri chestnuts, so they will be especially busy this year making quite a large amount for the moon viewing. I’m so grateful that they always go out of their way to make “Otsukimi Dango” for me and have them sent to Tokyo by plane.

It’s said that moon viewing at the mid-autumn festival became popular during the Heian Period. Aristocrats at that time enjoyed drinking alcohol, reciting poetry and listening to musical performances while looking up at the moon, but it was not until much later that the custom spread to the common people.
However, the meaning of this festival was completely different from the moon-viewing banquet held by the imperial court. This was a festival to express gratitude for the autumn harvest. Since this is also the season for harvesting taro, which was harvested along with pampas grass, taro was also apparently given as an offering.
From then on, people began placing dango offerings on sanbo stands, which are like small altars, though in Tokyo and elsewhere, white dango would be piled up and when the offering was finished, it seems that various flavors would be added to the dango before eating them.
On the other hand, in places like Nagoya and Kyoto, dango are made to resemble the shape of taro; in Nagoya dango come in three colors, while in Kyoto they are wrapped in red adzuki bean paste like an obi.
These dango are made from pure white fresh rice flour mochi that is shaped like a taro, with the middle part wrapped in bean paste.
With chewy mochi wrapped in smooth red bean paste, this sweet is so simple, but hearing the meaning behind it, you can really get a sense of something profound about each Tsukimi Dango.

※Available each year from September 1st to mid-October.

TEL/075-841-3080 OPEN HOUR/8:30〜17:00 CLOSE/不定



畑 主税さん


As WAGASHI buyer for all of Takashimaya’s stores, Chikara Hata has personally visited over a thousand WAGASHI shops in all of Japan’s 47 prefectures, and has sampled more than 10,000 kinds of WAGASHI. Hata shares information about authentic WAGASHI on Instagram and Twitter.