Higashiyama-ku, Matsuri-Festival, Setsubun, Temples-Shrines — January 29, 2015 at 5:04 PM

Setsubun at the Yasaka Shrine in Kyoto!

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Setsubun at the Yasaka Shrine:

On Sunday, the 3rd of February (2013), the yearly Setsubun festival was held at the Yasaka shrine (八坂神社) in Kyoto! Many people had gathered around the Kaguraden (神楽殿) for the musicians and dancers of the Yasaka Gagaku-kai (弥栄雅楽会) to start their sacred Bugaku (舞楽) court dance. Four ladies in traditional Buddhist costumes performed a traditional Bugaku (舞楽) court dance while the musicians played the hichiriki (篳篥). After the dance the musicians and dancers threw mamemaki (豆撒き) beans, chanting the phrase, ‘Oni wa soto, fuku wa uchi’. This means, ‘Demons out, luck in,’. The Kaguraden of Yasaka shrine was nicely decorated for the occasion and paper lanterns where lined around the top of the hall.

Performance times: 

The Yasaka Gagaku-kai (弥栄雅楽会) dancers leaving the kaguraden after their performance of a sacred Bugaku (舞楽) court dance to the tunes of ancient music, during the annual Setsubun festival at Yasaka shrine in Kyoto. They are wearing intricate traditional Buddhist costumes.

The Yasaka Gagaku-kai (弥栄雅楽会) dancers leaving the kaguraden after their performance of a sacred Bugaku (舞楽) court dance to the tunes of ancient music, during the annual Setsubun festival at Yasaka shrine in Kyoto. They are wearing intricate traditional Buddhist costumes.

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.
I attended the Yasaka Setsubun matsuri two years ago and didn’t stay for a long time, I wanted to move on to Yoshida shrine. This year though, I’ll spend some time at Yasaka shrine to enjoy the different performances. While there two years ago, I saw the Yasaka Gagaku-kai (弥栄雅楽会) performance for Setsubun. They performed a Bugaku (舞楽) is a Japanese traditional court dance that has been performed to select elites mostly in Japanese imperial courts for over twelve hundred years. The dance is marked by its slow, precise and regal movements. The dancers wear intricate traditional Buddhist costumes.
This time though, I want to see the performance by the Geisha (芸妓) and Maiko (舞妓) of Ponto-chō kabu-kai (先斗町歌舞会). The performance will be on the second at 13.00pm.

Setsubun Heian shrine! Setsubun Yoshida Shrine! Setsubun Kitano Tenman-gū!

Wikipedia explanation of Setsubun:

The Yasaka Gagaku-kai (弥栄雅楽会) dancers trowing beans to the crowd at the annual setsubun (節分) festival at Yasaka shrine (八坂神社) in Kyoto.

The Yasaka Gagaku-kai (弥栄雅楽会) dancers trowing beans to the crowd at the annual setsubun (節分) festival at Yasaka shrine (八坂神社) 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.  Read more at Wikipedia:

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