Moon Viewing and First Frost

Autumn brings many things to Kamikochi: bracingly cool morning air, clear blue skies, and colorful foliage of incomparible beauty.  In addition, the conditions brought about by high pressure sysems make the skies over the park a wonder to behold by night.


This week, we pause to look at the time-honored custom of tsukimi, or “moon viewing” as enjoyed in Kamikochi.



Traditionally, the Japanese have observed the custom of Tsukimi on the eighth and ninth months of the old Japanese lunisolar calendar.  Due to differences between this older format and modern solar calendars, viewings of the full moon and the waxing moon now fall on September 15th and October 13th, respectively.  The celebration typically includes offerings to the moon in the form of dango and chessnuts, as seen here:




September of this year brought a radiant full moon that lit up the night sky while casting light on the sacred waters of the Azusa River:



Even without many stars in the sky, the moon created a soothing atmosphere, appropriate to the season.




The past weeks have also seen early morning frost as temperatures continue to drop and visitors to the Northern Alps have been obliged to bundle up more and more, layering fleece under their windbreakers.


Under the influence of the recent typhoon, morning temperatures on the 17th and 18th dipped to around 1 degree celsius.  Frost could be seen on woodwork around Kappa Bridge:



河童橋の氷  今朝の河童橋

Happily, cold air does nothing to lessen the beautiful secenery as seen in these shots of the Hotaka Ranage and Roppyaku-san:


早朝の穂高連峰  夕方の六百山

And here we see Mount Myojin towering against the backdrop of a deep blue autumn sky:



Whether, you’re taking in the clear night skies or the radiant daytime scenery, each day in Kamikochi brings something new to appreciate.  As we near mid-autumn, the countdown toward the end of the season is also beginning.  There is plenty here to savor while we still have time, so stake out a sunny day or two and pack some warm clothes.


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Sources of Information:


Shimizuya Hotel website:


National Park Guide website:


The photo of the Tsukimi offerings was taken by the Wikipedia Commons contributer katorisi, copied by the author from Wikipedia, and is used here under the terms of the Creative Commons