Grab a fist full of throwing beans ready, its February, and it’s already time to say sayonara to winter with the annual setsubun festival. Setsubun was originally celebrated four times per year, but gradually became a spring-only event. Shrines across the country mark the beginning of February with the custom of mamemaki (bean throwing). The tossing of the soy beans is thought to drive out demons and bring in good luck for the coming year. Head to Tokyo’s oldest temple, Senso-ji in Asakusa, to see priests throwing beans into the huge crowd, a tradition first recorded in “Edo meisho zu-e,” an ancient pictorial record of the city. There you will be sure to hear the cry of “Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!” Demons out! Good luck in!
Feb. 3, 11:30 am
Venue: Senso-ji Temple
Nearest station: Asakusa Station
(Asakusa, Ginza & Isesaki lines)