If you happened to be in Japan this week, you may have noticed rather a lot of rabbit-themed goods, particularly sweets. Not to worry, the Japanese haven’t gotten their dates for Easter spectacularly wrong, these lapine lovelies are part of otsukimi, a tradition celebrating the harvest moon.
In the traditional Japanese calendar, the full moon on the 15th day of the eighth month is said to be the most beautiful full moon of the year and, much like for the cherry blossoms in spring, moon viewing parties are held with their own special foods and rituals. Japanese pampas grass and autumn flowers are used for decorations and little moon-like balls of white mochi called tsukimi dango are eaten, along with seasonal produce like sweet potatoes and chestnuts.
So what’s with the rabbits?
In addition to the traditional autumn foods of otsukimi, sweets featuring rabbits are also very popular because the moon is inhabited by a mochi-making rabbit, at least according to a Japanese folk tale. And you thought there was nothing up there but cheese!
These rabbity sweets are almost too cute to eat, but not quite, since they are also very tasty. We’ve collected a few of our favorites for your viewing and salivating pleasure. Enjoy!
▼ An egg tart complete with moon, rabbits and pampas grass
▼ This roll cake has chestnut yokan (bean-paste jelly) at its center for the rare double moon!
▼ USE ALL THE AUTUMN IMAGES!!!
▼These ones actually look fluffy
▼ Somebody needs to lay off the carrots…
▼ Wafer and bean paste sandwiches, yum.
▼ With this dorayaki sweet pancake, simpler is better
▼ This one makes the list on strength of packaging design
▼ Nice use of strawberries and cream on this pudding, but that rabbit on the right looks a little scared.
▼ Oh, you fancy, huh?
▼ Wait, that’s actually a boiled egg.
Did you get to enjoy any otsukimi treats this year? What’s your favorite? Let us know the comments!
Top image: Wagashi Tsukuru yo
Images: Natsu Miyazawa , Budoonoki , Amarantine , Tamachi Baigetsu , Daidokoro no Mado kara , Kitsune no Mori , Akanean , Blog na Net Seikatsu , Okashi na Niko , Ginza Gourmet Therapy , Cookpad