It’s Tsukimi Time! McDonald’s Japan, Others Reveal New Menus

It’s Tsukimi Time! McDonald’s Japan, Others Reveal New Menus

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McDonald's Japan, Komeda coffee, and Wendy's Japan menus
It's Tsukimi season again in Japan - which means it's time for McDonald's and others to roll out their limited time Tsukimi menus! Which of these are you most looking forward to?

Frequent travelers know that fast-food chains customize their menus to fit the locale. And now that it’s September, both international corporations like McDonald’s and local Japanese chains like Komeda Coffee are getting into the spirit of Tsukimi season. Here’s what major restaurants and cafes are unveiling to celebrate Japan’s holiday of the moon.

What is Tsukimi?

Tsukimi, or “moon-viewing”, marks the beginning of festivals honoring the autumn moon. It’s traditionally associated with the day jugoya (十五夜), when people would give thanks for a bountiful autumn harvest while appreciating the beauty of the moon. Tsukimi this year (2023) lands on September 29th – i.e., the date of the September full moon.

Jugoya is succeeded in August by jusanya (十三夜), which falls on the next full moon (in 2023, that’s October 27th). While jugoya is a holiday tradition imported from China, jusanya is a unique Japanese celebration for giving thanks at the end of the harvest. It was reportedly born of a legend that it was bad luck to see the full moon only once.

It’s tradition to enjoy tsukimi dango (月見団子), or rice dumplings, while viewing the jusanya moon. Some traditions hold that you stack up 15 dango on a plate to celebrate jugoya (literally “night of the 15th”) and 13 to celebrate jusanya (“night of the 13th”).

McDonald’s Tsukimi Burger is back

Picture: McDonald’s Japan official Web site

There may be no better sign of Tsukimi season than the Tsukimi menus from fast-food chains. Particularly, the arrival of McDonald’s Tsukimi Burger – a burger topped with egg, smoked bacon, and a creamy tomato sauce. First unveiled in 1991, McDonald’s Japan developed the limited edition item in response to customers who said their favorite addition to the standard McDonald’s Burger would be an egg.

The Tsukimi Burger would be only one of five out of over 200 new items McDonald’s Japan developed that year that would make it to the menu. According to the company, it went through multiple trial runs – including topping the item with pickles and onions – until it found the exact taste balance it thought customers would love.


And love it they have – for some 25 years. Every year, McDonald’s sells some variation on the Tsukimi Burger, including the Large Tsukimi between 2010-2013, the 2013 and 2014 Chicken Tsukimi, and 2014’s Mushroom Tsukimi. The idea was so popular that, as you’ll see below, multiple other chains have decided to copy it.

This year, the Cheese Tsukimi is having another day in the sun (er, moonlight). Early risers can also grab a Tsukimi Muffin. For those with a sweet tooth, there’s the Tsukimi Pie, a combination of anko beans and mochi.

McDonald’s Tsukimi Menu goes on sale starting September 6th and runs until the latter half of October.

Komeda, Wendy’s also join the action

Not to be outdone by foreign chains, local coffee chain Komeda is throwing its hat back into the ring with one savory and four sweet items. Leading the list of actual food is the Tsukimi Full Moon Burger, topped with an egg omelette that resembles the full moon. It also comes topped with a mustard sauce (you can ask them to leave that off).

But like most Japanese kissa, Komeda’s real specialty is sweets. It’s offering four Tsukimi specials, including the O-Tsukimi Jellicoe, a variation of its famous Jellicoe jelly drink. The Tsukimi version contains chestnuts and marron (a chestnut variant).

Komed'a's O-Tsukimi Jellicoe
Picture: Komeda official Web site

Komeda’s also offering Tsukimi versions of its famous “Shiro-noir” (シロノワール) danish and soft cream dessert and its kuro-neige (クロネージュ) desserts, both with pumpkin flavors and topped with a pumpkin sauce and seeds. (The “shiro-noir” is an invention of the chain’s that dates back to 1971.)

Komeda's O-Tsukimi Shiro-noir.
Komeda’s O-Tsukimi Shiro-noir.

Last but not least, Wendy’s – known in Japan as Wendy’s First Kitchen – wants you to know it won’t be left out of the Tsukimi game. Its own Tsukimi Burger, the Tsukimi Mocchi, comes with a fried mochi (rice cake) dipped in a dashi-kombu sauce (tsuyu).

The Wendy's First Kitchen Tsukimi Mocchi Burger
The Wendy’s First Kitchen Tsukimi Mocchi Burger. (Picture: Wendy’s First Kitchen press release)

Not a fan of beef? You can also get a Chicken version that comes with a “tatsuta” fried chicken patty that’s been marinated in soy sauce prior to frying. Not feeling the egg? No worries – you can order the burgers in their non-Tsukimi versions as well.

Komeda’s menu also begins September 6th and runs until the latter part of October. Wendy’s Tsukimi Burgers go on sale starting September 7th.

Appreciating the Moon in Japan, Land of the Rising Sun


今年も月見がやってきた!もっちもち食感がクセになる丸餅と和の旨味で仕立てた月見バーガー4種が新登場!9/7(水)から 全店で. PRTimes

初公開! マックの秋の定番『月見バーガー』誕生秘話. McDonald’s Japan

マクドナルド、今年の月見バーガーは「七味香る牛すき月見」新登場!Impress Watch

コメダのお月見祭、ま~るい満月「お月見フルムーンバーガー」「お月見シロノワール パンプキン」など発売. Impress Watch

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Jay Allen

Jay is a resident of Tokyo where he works as a reporter for Unseen Japan and as a technial writer. A lifelong geek, wordsmith, and language fanatic, he has level N1 certification in the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) and is fervently working on his Kanji Kentei Level 2 certification.

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