Once essential to the New Year celebration, the practice of mochitsuki is now rare even in Japan, as busy people eat store-bought mochi rather than make their own. Come and celebrate the Japanese New Year with the music and dance of Kagami Kai, a San Francisco-based group dedicated to maintaining the Japanese tradition of mochi pounding. Pound your own mochi, and decorate and write a New Year greeting to friends or family. The event is free with museum admission.
Enjoy some of the best museum food in SF at Chef Melinda Quirino's Café Asia. Seasonal offerings include steamed fish wrapped in a banana leaf, served with jasmine rice and snake beans, clay pot tea smoked lamb stew, BBQ baby pork spareribs, and a variety of noodles and soups.
"First Sundays of the month are free. Lines are long though so visit early."
There are plenty of ways to spend time with family and friends, but have you ever made mochi together? Come on down to the museum for our novel festivity: mochitsuki, or mochi pounding, in which steamed glutinous rice is transformed into delectable soft, chewy cakes.
In Japan, mochi (sticky rice dumpling) is a tasty treat made to commemorate special occasions, most notably the New Year. The museum’s party will be led by Kagami Kai, a San Francisco-based group dedicated to maintaining the Japanese tradition of mochi pounding. To inspire the communal spirit associated with mochitsuki, people of all ages are encouraged to try their hand at swinging the wooden mallets that pound the wet rice paste and afterwards, taste the result of their hard work.
This lively event is an interactive performance, complete with music, dance, and costumes. Visitors can also create their own art (after the ceremony), shop in the museum store, refresh at Cafe Asia, stroll the museum’s collection galleries, and view the special exhibition Maharaja.