Mochi-Tsuki is a Japanese new year’s tradition for our family and many other local families. From what I know, it’s a tradition that has been passed down from my husband’s great-uncle to my father-in-law, and now to my husband. Although he had a lot of help from mom and dad, this was the first year he was officially in charge of organizing our annual mochi-tsuki.

The day starts early in the morning before the sun rises at my in-laws house. This time of year, the weather is cold and crisp in Mililani. Mochi rice is washed and soaked days ahead, the red bean paste (anko) is prepared, and the actual mochi pounding is hard work.

Above: Yomogi (Japanese mugwort) added for color. Below: Mochi filled, shaped, and dusted with potato starch

Making Mochi

Mochi Tsuki Mochi Tsuki Mochi Tsuki

Hopefully the next generation to carry on this tradition

Mochi Tuski 2016 5

Planny slippahs outside…always a good sign


The usu (no, not uso) handed down from generations. Mochi rice steaming in the background.

Your reward for all that hard work? Crispy wok fried fish, cooked and caught by my father-in-law. Eat with shoyu and super soft fresh mochi!!

Crispy Fish

Steaming Rice

When pau, we’re left with plain mochi, yomogi mochi, mochi filled with anko. I’ll eat it any way I can get it, but some of my favorite ways to eat mochi are–plain, pan fried with shoyu sugar (isobe mochi), soft and dusted with kinako sugar (warabi mochi), or stuffed with anko and pan fried.

But the true calling for this mochi is best tasted in OZONI! (mochi soup) My all time favorite food. My grandma made the best ozoni, only eaten at new years for good luck. Trying to keep this tradition alive as well, I’m on a quest to make the perfect ozoni.

2 thoughts on “Mochi-Tsuki”

  1. What a wonderful tradition that keeps going! I miss mochi tsuki. In the metropolitan cities, most families don’t own kine and usu, so it’s rare to experience it without going to an event etc. I miss freshly pounded mochi! Looks so delicious! Thank you for linking to my blog! 🙂

    1. Thank you for all the awesome recipes! They’re so easy to follow and always turn out good. If you’re ever thinking of doing a Hawaii recipe I’d love to collaborate (you do the cooking, I do the eating haha). All kidding aside, we have so many amazing local foods that are Japanese influenced. I’d be happy to lend some insight or ideas 🙂

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