Higashiyama-ku, Matsuri-Festival, Setsubun, Temples-Shrines — February 2, 2015 at 10:09 PM

Setsubun at the Yasaka Shrine in Kyoto!

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Maiko of Pontochō kabu-kai (先斗町歌舞会) entering the kaguraden of Yasaka shrine (八坂神社) in Kyoto, during the annual setsubun festival.

Maiko of Pontochō kabu-kai (先斗町歌舞会) entering the kaguraden of Yasaka shrine (八坂神社) in Kyoto, during the annual setsubun festival.

Setsubun at Yasaka shrine:

Today is the first day of the Setsubun Matsuri and annual “bean trowing” events are held in Kyoto. I attended the first show at Yasaka shrine (八坂神社) that started at 13.00pm. Maiko from the Pontochō kabu-kai (先斗町歌舞会) did a traditional dance accompanied by ladies playing the shamisen (三味線). After the dance the maiko and shrine priests threw mamemaki (豆撒き) beans to the eagerly awaiting crowd. So many people trying to get the lucky beans!

Setsubun Schedule at Yasaka shrine:

The Setsubun ceremony at Yasaka shrine differs from some of the other Setsubun ceremonies here in Kyoto. The Setsubun festival is held on the 2nd and the 3rd of February. Different Geisha and Maiko from some of Kyoto’s five Hanamachi districts will participate at different time intervals. On the second of February there will be a performance at 1.00pm, 2.00pm, 3.00pm and 4.00pm in the afternoon. On the third of February there will be a performance at 11.00am, 1.00pm, 3.00pm and 4.00pm.

Meaning of “Setsubun”:

Maiko of the Pontochō kabu-kai (先斗町歌舞会) trowing mamemaki (豆撒き) beans at the annual setsubun matsuri of Yasaka shrine in Kyoto.

Maiko of the Pontochō kabu-kai (先斗町歌舞会) trowing mamemaki (豆撒き) beans at the annual setsubun matsuri of Yasaka shrine in Kyoto.

Setsubun (節分) is the day before the beginning of spring in Japan. The name literally means “seasonal division”, but usually the term refers to the Spring Setsubun, properly called Risshun (立春) celebrated yearly on February 3 as part of the Spring Festival (春祭). In its association with the Lunar New Year, Spring Setsubun can be and was previously thought of as a sort of New Year’s Eve, and so was accompanied by a special ritual to cleanse away all the evil of the former year and drive away disease-bringing evil spirits for the year to come. This special ritual is called mamemaki (豆撒き) (literally “bean scattering”). Setsubun has its origins in tsuina (追儺), a Chinese custom introduced to Japan in the eighth century. See All Pictures Here!

The shamisen (三味線) players have entered the kaguraden of Yasaka shrine (八坂神社) in Kyoto, during the annual setsubun festival.

The shamisen (三味線) players have entered the kaguraden of Yasaka shrine (八坂神社) in Kyoto, during the annual setsubun festival.

An expectant crowd eagerly trying to catch “lucky beans” at the annual setsubun festival at Yasaka shrine in Kyoto.

An expectant crowd eagerly trying to catch “lucky beans” at the annual setsubun festival at Yasaka shrine in Kyoto.

A peek of the back side of the beautiful kimono’s worn by the Maiko of the Pontochō kabu-kai (先斗町歌舞会) during the annual setsubun festival at Yasaka shrine.

A peek of the back side of the beautiful kimono’s worn by the Maiko of the Pontochō kabu-kai (先斗町歌舞会) during the annual setsubun festival at Yasaka shrine.


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