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Otsukimi Moon Viewing Exhibit


October 28th & 29th, 2023

Otsukimi - Moonviewing Exhibit


October 28th & 29th, 5 pm - 9 pm

(last admission at 8:00 pm)

Instead of going star gazing, the Japanese go moon gazing!

Similar to the traditions of Cherry Blossom Viewing and Autumn Leaves Viewing, the Japanese take time to enjoy the moon when it is most beautiful. 


Our annual Otsukimi Moon Viewing is a traditional Japanese celebration of the full moon. Stroll through our lantern-lit paths in the full moonlight, and enjoy various Japanese displays, musical performances as well as authentic various sake, traditional Japanese food, and snacks.   


Our exhibit theme this year is : "Gekka “月華” .   

Gekka “月華” can be translated as "moonflower," representing the serene and beautiful scene created by the combination of the moon and the radiance of flowers.


It encompasses the meeting of "moonlight," referring to the soft and gentle illumination emitted by the moon during nighttime. The term "華-Ka" in this context signifies brightness or radiance. 

Continue reading to learn more about the event, or purchase yout ticket now!

General Admission:

General $30

Youth 7-17: $20

Youth 0-6: Free

Member: $25 


What to Expect


The word "Otsukimi" means to literally gaze at the moon (月 tsuki means moon and 見 mi means to look).


This tradition of enjoying the beauty of the full moon in September and October dates back to the Heian period, from 794 to 1185 A.D. In those days, aristocrats would gather together to admire the moon, recite poetry, and play instruments.


They would admire the reflection of the moon on the surface of ponds or on the surface of their cups of sake. Many poems written during Otsukimi can be found in the Kokinshu, a famous ancient Japanese poetry anthology.

During our event, witness the grace of Calligraphy as skilled artists create intricate characters for you at our Calligraphy Booth. Admire the elegance of Ikebana flower arrangements, where nature and art merge in perfect harmony, and explore Japanese art installations that blend tradition and creativity, resulting in glowing beauty unique to our Garden.


Enjoy mesmerizing Traditional Japanese Musical Performances featuring local favorites ken Koshio & Kenzoo, with their thundering beats Taiko, and visiting musicians from Yamaguchi Music Academy in Japan!

Our main stage will also be hosting a visiting sake sommelier from Ozeki Sake, and a Tamasudare performance, an art dating back to the Edo period!

Indulge in delectable Traditional Japanese food, including both savory and sweet snacks. Pair your culinary delights with sake and beer from our garden bar for a truly authentic experience!

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Tea House Concert Bundle: As an exclusive treat you can experience a traditional Japanese musical performance on the Koto along with a serving on sencha tea exclusively in our tea house.

Please note that access to our tea garden and this exclusive performance requires additional ticketing, so be sure to secure your bundle tickets early and check in before your designated performance time.

Join us for a magical evening under the moonlit sky, celebrating the centuries old tradition of Otsukimi in the heart of the Japanese Friendship Garden of Phoenix. 

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Event Schedule
 Enjoy performances and activities throughout the evening! All performances are included with admission.


Subject to Change*

October 28th & 29th

4:00 pm - Early Entry (Members Only)

Members can gain early access to the event without the crowds.

4:30 pm - Gates Open

5:15 pm & 7:15 pm - Opening by Japanese Song by Team Yamaguchi Musicians

Singer Yoshio Hamada with Guitarist Ikuo Shimizu. 

5:40 pm & 7:40 pm - Sake Lecture by Sake Sommelier from Ozeki Sake USA 

Learn about Japanese sake crafting and tasting straight from the source, Ozeki Sake, and visiting sommelier Mark Fukushima! (included with Admission).

5:50 pm & 7:50 pm - Tamasudare Performance by Team Yamaguchi Musicians

Experience tamasudare, a unique Japanese street performance dating back to the Edo period! These performances are hilarious and fun, and are common at Japanese festivals. This performance is done by Kayoko Munehisa and Miho Maeda , accompanied by music from Yoshio Hamada with Ikuo Shimizu.

6:00pm & 8:00pm - Niko Performance by Ted Niko

Enjoy the traditional sounds of the niko, a Chinese two-stringed bowed musical instrument, by Ted Niko and company. 

6:15 pm & 8:15 pm - Japanese Traditional Music Performance by Ken Koshio and Kenzoo

Witness the sound of booming Taiko and accompanying instruments with this traditional performance from Ken Koshio and Kenzoo.

9 pm - Gates Close


Himeji Sister City Information Booth

Participate in a silent auction with beautiful Japanese items.

Rohoen Market 

Pop-up Rohoen Market with Japanese gifts, snacks, drinks and more! 

Kimono for You by Junko Horton

Kimono and traditional Japanese goods from Junko Horton.  

Haiku Poetry Writing by Robb Tyler

Write Haiku on request with a beautiful 1923 portable Underwood typewriter!

Sogetsu Ikebana potteries by Ping Wei 

View Ping Wei's (Our ikebana, pottery, and tai chi instructor) stunning handmade pottery.

Shodo (Japanese calligraphy) - Get your name written in Japanese by Tomomi Ishiko 

Get your name or beautiful Japanese Kanji written by traditional calligraphy artists.

Art Displays 

View beautiful glowing art displays as you stroll our Garden. With their soft light illuminating the pathway and their unique theming, these displays of Ikebana, candles, and more are sure to immerse you in the Otsukimi holiday.

Water Lily Display

By Coronado Lilies 

Food Vendors


Kakigori Addict

  • Fukashi-imo (Steam potato with topping) 

  • Takoyaki 

  • Edamame 

  • Kakigori 


Mochi donuts

And more coming soon!

We hope to see you at our next exciting event, October 28th and 29th, 2023!
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