Virtual Japanese Moon Viewing

Virtual Japanese Moon Viewing

Welcome to Cheekwood’s Sixth Annual Moon Viewing festival. While we are unable to celebrate together in person, we are grateful for the continued partnership with the Consulate-General of Japan in Nashville. Please explore the hands-on activities, enjoy the videos, and make a tasty treat to celebrate Otsukimi in your own home.

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Japanese Tea Ceremony

The Japanese tea ceremony is a choreographic ritual of preparing and serving Japanese green tea, called matcha, together with traditional sweets to balance with the bitter taste of the tea. Preparing tea in this ceremony means pouring all one’s attention into the predefined movements. The host of the ceremony always considers the guests with every movement and gesture. Even the placement of the tea utensils is considered from the guests view point, especially the main guests called the Shokyaku.

In this video, Ms. Sachi Uemoto hosts a traditional tea ceremony with Ms. Shoko Matsuoka as the guest.

Kamishibai - The Magical Art of Japanese Storytelling

Kamishibai is a form of storytelling that originated in Japan. In kamishibai – from kami, meaning paper and shibai, meaning play or theatre – stories consist of 12 or 16 beautifully illustrated cards which accompany the words of the storyteller.

In this video, Ms. Yoko Wakatsuki tells “The Story of Tanabata.” Tanabata is celebrated to commemorate the romantic story of two lovers, represented by the stars Vega and Altair, who are only allowed to meet each other once a year. It is celebrated on the 7th day of the 7th lunar month, which is July 7th in the modern calendar.

Haiku Contest Winners

A traditional Japanese haiku is a three-line poem with seventeen syllables, written in a 5/7/5 syllable count. Often focusing on images from nature, haiku emphasizes simplicity, intensity, and directness of expression. Congratulations to the winners of our haiku contest!

Children Under 10:

Night falls, the moon shines
It comes up with a big smile
It comes down slowly.

– Perel Rothstein (Akiva School)

Children 10-18:

the winds gently blow
leaves rustle and birds chuckle
the music of life

– Devarti Patel (Sumner Academy)

Special Additional Category – Cheekwood Inspired!

Trees deeply rooted
Gardens in brilliant colors
That’s truly Cheekwood

– Mary Chapman

Adult – Harvest Themed:

Bathed in abundance
nature’s yield and offerings
the harvest moon shines

– Stacey Haag

Adult – Moon Themed:

Golden moon hangs low,
As a gourd droops from the vine–
Both ripe for plucking

– Genevieve Oliver

Adult – General: A tie!

Waves break, measure time
Metronome of ocean’s breath
Pacifies the mind

– Judy Quinn

ようかんの もみじにおもう ふるさとや
(Yokan no momiji ni omou furusatoya)
In front of the Western house
I saw a colorful maple tree
It reminds me of my hometown

– Hideko Shimizu


Ikebana is the Japanese art of flower arranging that emphasizes respect and gratitude for nature. This arrangement was created by the Consulate-General of Japan in Nashville to celebrate Otsukimi. Check it out in the Frist Learning Center on your next visit to Cheekwood!

Make Your Own Bunny Mochi

At a traditional Japanese Otsukimi (Moon Viewing) festival you’ll often see wooden platforms stacked high with round dumplings of mochi, called tsukimi dango. These treats are meant to evoke the sight of a full moon, and are often filled with red bean paste or other sweets, like chocolate. You will also see many depictions of rabbits – in Japan, rabbits are strongly associated with the moon. It’s said that you can see the silhouette of a rabbit pounding mochi in the traditional fashion in the shadows of the full moon.

Ms. Sumiko Wada, Official Chef at Consul General Kayoko Fukushima’s residence, has combined these two ideas to create cute rabbit-shaped mochi. All of the ingredients should be available at local Asian markets (such as Sonobana market in Nashville). We’ve included photos of the ingredients to help you find them.

We hope you will make some bunny mochi yourself and enjoy the sights and tastes of a traditional tsukimi festival!

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Celebrate Otsukimi with Origami

Get in the festival spirit by creating origami, the traditional Japanese art of folding paper into sculptural forms. Learn how to make a rabbit or a harvest flower!

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Tots! Online Activities & Coloring Sheets

We’re sharing activities for parents and tots to activate at home in celebration of Otsukimi. Use our files to create your own art projects at the links below!

Tots! Online Activities

The Great Wave   Yayoi Kusama Pumpkins

Coloring Sheets

Bonsai   Ikebana

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