Skip to main content

Frisco STYLE Magazine

By the Light of the Moon

It’s hard to improve upon a temperate September evening, but the annual Otsukimi Moon Viewing Festival, hosted by the Japan-America Society of Dallas/Fort Worth, will attempt to do so with a stellar event paying homage to the fall season.

In its 23rd year, the festival – featuring food, live music and dance performances, themed art and family friendly activities – is scheduled from 7-10 p.m. Sept. 10 at Simpson Plaza, 8843 Coleman Blvd., in Frisco. Admission is free. Additional details are available at

Otsukimi (pronounced oat-sue-kee-mee) is an annual Japanese autumn festival focused around viewing the Harvest Moon, which typically falls on the fifteenth day of the eighth month of the Japanese lunar calendar. 

The celebration reportedly dates back to Heian period between 794 and 1185 A.D. The moon-viewing custom is believed to have originated among Japanese aristocrats who gathered to recite poetry when the relative positions of the Earth, sun and moon caused the latter to appear especially bright. It is especially important in East and Southeast Asia, as the celebration intended to give thanks for the year’s bountiful harvest.

 Making the Move

The Otsukimi Moon Viewing Festival had previously been held for two decades at Klyde Warren Park in Dallas before relocating in 2019 to Frisco. 

Paul Pass, executive director of the Japan-America Society of Dallas/Fort Worth, says over the years, there has been a growing community of Asian Americans who have made the Dallas suburbs their home, so traversing downtown for the festival was no longer ideal. 
“Additionally, we moved it because the moon is the main component of this festival and you can’t really appreciate the clear viewing as much in downtown Dallas,” Pass explains. “Frisco is a good fit for us. There’s great open space and it’s become popular with our audience.”

Although the festival was successful in Dallas, Pass points out that it was missing a close connection with the Japanese community. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of Asian Americans living in Frisco jumped from 11.6 percent in 2010 to 26.3 percent in 2020, making it evident that such a cultural celebration would be well-received here.

The festival is expected to draw about 1,300 people this year — a  signifcant leap from its humble beginnings when the first event attracted just 50 attendees. It is now one of the region’s the largest Japanese cultural events. 

 Family-Friendly Fun

While the highlight of the Otsukimi Moon Viewing Festival is, of course, gazing at the moon, plenty of other activities are also slated during the event. The Crow Museum and University of Texas at Dallas will present cultural-activity booths.

Also, there will be cuisine to purchase of both the savory and sweet variety. The popular Mitsuwa Marketplace, a Japanese supermarket chain that has a store in Plano, will be in attendance along with F&F Food Truck and rigs from Bobaddiction (boasting boba tea and other beverages), Sushi Spin (serving Japanese- and Asian-fusion dishes) and Mr. Moto Shave Ice, among other eateries. 

Pass encourages attendees to try traditional Tsukimi Dango, a sweet dumpling made from rice that is dipped in a honey-like sauce. 

The evening’s entertainment lineup will feature cultural performances and exhibitions including a tea ceremony, traditional taiko drummers, a haiku poetry reading and martial arts demonstrations. 
Dallas Kiyari Daiko, a well-known ensemble that has performed its traditional drumming for three decades, is on the bill. The Dojo, a long-time Denton school for traditional Japanese martial arts in North Texas, will stage demonstrations of some of the martial arts styles it teaches including Aikido and Judo. 

Meanwhile, the Dallas Sumo Club will demonstrate the world’s oldest documented combat sport, sumo wrestling. Thought to be 2,000 years old, sumo is a fast-growing sport in North Texas. The club hopes to not only challenge and grow athletes, but continue to highlight the sport’s tradition and culture.

Pass says he is excited to celebrate the 2022 festival in person, which returns to its regular September schedule for the first time in three years (the event was held virtually in 2020 due to the pandemic). He hopes this year’s celebration will draw more people than ever, who will gather as one inclusive community. 

“It’s such a fun event,” he says. “Truly a great way for families to spend an evening in Frisco.” 

Mallory Arnold is a freelance writer who enjoys long walks, crime podcasts and hanging out with her cat Ariana Grande. 

Photos provided by Japan-America Society of Dallas/Fort Worth