It’s January 11th, it must Kagami Mochi

How are you doing with your new year resolutions? The year is already moving a breakneck speed and here to remind us is kagami mochi.


In the old Japanese calendar each variation of the season lasted ten days. According to that old calendar we’ve already finished one season and to mark the transition we eat kagami mochi.

Kagami means mirror, but here refers to a celebratory day. Kagami motchi is a cake of rice said to house the spirit of the rice harvest, which traditionally took place around the harvest moon. Where Americans see the man on the moon, the Japanese see a rabbit pounding rice into rice cakes. The hare’s fertility and productivity along with the preservation of the rice and the spirit of the harvest all come together in the symbol of these round cakes of rice.

People here put them in their home with another symbols of good luck towards the very end of December. The idea is that the spirit of the rice harvest is in the motchi bringing you good luck. Some see esoteric meanings in having two, one on top of the other. Either way, it’s carries with it the feeling of the season like the Christmas tree does back home.


Now that this first season has passed we can release the god back into nature by breaking the rice cakes into bits and roasting them in the broiler. You’re supposed to add it to a sweet bean soup but. . . . plain is fine, too.


(Well, a little can’t hurt me now, can it?)


9 Comments on “It’s January 11th, it must Kagami Mochi

      • Oh, I loved Japan! I would have stayed longer if I could. I was in the Kanto plain, about an hour away from Tokyo. I miss it there!


  1. Hey man. I love this. I used to live in Japan and my favourite tradition was when we wore masks and ran around the house throwing beans to dispel demons. The Japanese really know how to make traditions enjoyable. P.s. I be got about 3 months of blogging under my belt but I like this theme. Don’t be pissed of if you visit my site and it looks exactly like this!


  2. Pingback: Zero to Hero day nine | Words to the Wise or otherwise just words

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