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What is Setsubun

It is one of the Japanese events which have meaning of “separation of the season”.


In another way to say, there are four Setsubun in a year as there are four seasons. Originally, those four Setsubun were cerebrated but recently the Setsubun means only the first separation of the season which is 3rd of February. It is one day before of official spring season in Japan.

What should we do?

There are differences between the area but mainly eat traditional Sushi roll and throw away soy beans. This throwing bean has meaning to demolish devils and the bean was also thought as devil with wordplay reason. So when you throw the beans do it to the street to kick out the devil from your house saying “get out evil”. The traditional Sushi roll is to pull happiness and health into the people. When you eat it, please turn to certain direction of the year and do not speak. This direction calls “Eho” and the Sushi roll calls “Eho roll”. For example, the other variations of Setsubun are the following; Eat cooked soy beans as much as your actual age. Put stabbed sardine head with holly tree’s branch (sounds really strange but this is one of the traditions, too), etc.



The actual Setsubun is a combination of Chinese tradition and Japanese separation of the seasons. It was reached during the Heian period (794-1185). Originally with a plum wood bow and reed arrow, shoot to the four directions of the imperial court in the last day of the year midnight to remove the disgrace of all year. The Chinese calendar was set the 4th of February as the 1st day of the year. That’s why the Japanese tradition of separation of the seasons and Chinese tradition to remove disgrace was combined as one and both of them are on the 3rd of February so it calls as “Setsubun”.

How about in Kyoto?

Setsubun ceremony does between the 2nd to the 4th of February in many Shrines and Temples. The most famous two Setsubun are the Yoshida shrine and the Mibudera temple. The ceremonies are good and so many stands from way back.

Setsubun of Yoshida shrine Since Muromachi period (1336-1573), Setsubun of Yoshida shrine is a large traditional event, around five hundred thousand people and stands are there. Even full of the people, please try to visit to get amulet and enjoy.

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