Samurai Dave: The Roving Ronin Report

Rambling Narrative of Travels, Thoughts, and Embellishments

Setsubun in Kyoto and Nara Video

Setsubun (Feb 3rd) is a Japanese Spring ritual where Japanese drive bad luck in the form of Oni (devils) out of their homes with a handful of tossed beans. At temples and shrines, they do mame maki which is throwing beans and other things to gathered crowds.

Setsubun is one of my favorite Japanese holidays and I’ve been celebrating it for the past 6 years or more. In the past I always celebrated it at temples and shrines in or around Tokyo. This year I headed for Kyoto taking in Nara in the evening as well.

I started Setsubun on the 2nd with some Geisha mame maki (geisha were throwing beans that is not that they were throwing geisha). On the 3rd, I went to 6 places starting with Yasaka Shrine for a brief mame maki by people in old court costumes then I went to Heian Shrine where they were doing Kyogen, traditional comedy plays set inbetween Noh dramas. After Heian I went to the small temple Shogo-In where they pelted 3 devils then later the devils threw beans at us! At a tiny temple near the old Imperial Palace, they had three devils arrive with weapons only to be driven away by beans and chants.

After that I took a train to Nara and got there in time to see yet another Oni demonstration. Here the devils were defeated by Bishamonten or Bishamon, Buddhist deity and Guardian of the North. It was like spiritual pro-wrestling with weapons. After that I went to Kasuga Taisha Shrine for a cool down. They had their hanging lanterns lit up for Setsubun. It was very beautiful.

Whew! After all that I was Setsubuned Out!

February 6, 2010 - Posted by | japan, japanese culture, Kyoto, oni, Only in Japan, Setsubun | , , , , , , ,

4 Comments »

  1. […] Setsubun in Kyoto and Nara Video « Samurai Dave: The Roving Ronin … This year I headed for Kyoto taking in Nara in the evening as well. I started Setsubun on the 2nd with some Geisha mame maki (geisha were throwing beans that is not that they were throwing geisha). On the 3rd, I went to 6 places … more .. […]

    Pingback by Setsubun in Kyoto and Nara Video « Samurai Dave: The Roving Ronin … « Kyoto Bookmarker | February 6, 2010 | Reply

  2. […] Photos   –> jQuery('document').ready(function($) { $('#toggle_bg').toggle(function() { $('body').addClass('noback'); }, function () { $('body').removeClass('noback'); }); }); Setsubun in Kyoto and Nara Video […]

    Pingback by Setsubun in Kyoto and Nara Video | BlogLinkJapan | February 6, 2010 | Reply

  3. Oh, that sounds so awesome!! (Teehee, re: not throwing geishas, throwing beans). Geez, the equinox festival must be a big one – already my fave hotel is booked out for that night.

    Comment by Leanne | February 7, 2010 | Reply

  4. Really enjoyable video blog! Would love to enjoy Setsubun in Kyoto (but then again, any excuse to go to Kyoto). Love the night scenes! In Sapporo, they use Azuki beans for the mamemaki… intersting to see the variety across cities, and even from temple to temple.

    Comment by AdelaideBen | March 23, 2010 | Reply


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: