Take an evening trip out of Osaka for an unforgettable tsukimi (moon-viewing) experience at Himeji Castle in Hyogo prefecture. Every year, the snow-white castle hosts a moon-watching harvest festival, offering a stunning visual complement to the full moon above. The festivities just outside the castle include a selection of snacks and local sake, a sword dance and traditional musical performances. Mid-Autumn Day falls on 13 September this year, but check ahead for the full schedule.
While the main island of Honshu still enjoys summer heat in mid-to-late September, Hokkaido begins transforming into a paradise for autumn lovers who indulge in momijigari, the tradition of appreciating the richly coloured leaves. Combine foliage-viewing with the full harvest moon for a dramatic and unforgettable evening; good spots include Shiretoko National Park, Daisetsuzan National Park and Sapporo’s own Nakajima Park.
Recreate a tsukimi tradition at Daikaku-ji temple, just outside of Kyoto. The adjacent Osawa Pond is home to a time-honoured royal ritual, kangetsu-no-yube, that involves admiring the moon while on a boat. Part of the charm is observing the moon’s flawless reflection on the surface of the water. A separate fee covers evening tea ceremony and snacks. This year’s kangetsu-no-yube is scheduled for 13-15 September.