Kansai Scene Magazine
 

 

Setsubun-e

Feb 3

Kinpusenji Zaodo Temple, Nara

Setsubun-e is a ritual held to pray for peace on earth in the year by offering prayers to the stars ruling our fate. Bean throwing ceremonies to drive away demons take place across Japan on this day. According to legend,
En the Ascetic, who established this temple, punished demons living in Mt Yoshino in order to reform them. The demons then worked under him. The demon dance performed in the middle of the ritual depicts this legend. It is thought that demons take refuge from the beans thrown in the temple and mend their ways. In the Zaodo the Setsubun-e begins with chanting sutra and finishes with a bean-throwing ceremony followed by a lottery where you can win wonderful prizes.

Time: 10am
Getting there: Kintetsu Railway Yoshino line Yoshino stn, Yoshino Ropeway Yoshinoyama stn 10–min walk
Admission: ¥200 (to enter the hall) • 0746-32-8371

Ichiya Kanjo Festival

Feb 3

Nozato Sumiyoshi-jinja Shrine, Osaka

Once upon a time a very poor village lay beside the river Yodo. Because the river often flooded causing damage to the village, the villagers tried to appease the God by sacrificing a young girl every year. In the seventh year of this practice, a brave samurai heard about the tragic story and offered himself to be sacrificed instead of the girl for the seventh year. He was placed into a coffin and left at the shrine. The next day, a body of large baboon lay on the precinct covered with blood. But the samurai had disappeared. At this Shinto shrine, this legend has been passed down as a festival in which seven girls are blessed with good fortune and health. There will be a procession of the girls and their families followed by a festive ceremony and a dance by shrine maidens on this day.

Time: 2pm • Getting there: JR Tsukamoto stn, 5-min walk
Admission: free • 06-6471-0277

Kansai Festival Listings February

Yudate-shinji

Iwashimizu Hachimangu, Kyoto
Feb 1 & 3

This ritual has been called the first herald of spring since olden times. Holy water is boiled in a cauldron in the precincts and offered to the god. Shrine maidens splash the water in every direction using a bamboo branch. It is said if you get splashed you will be in good health during
the year.

Time: 12noon
Getting there: Keihan Railway Yawata-shi stn, Otokoyama Cable Railway Otokoyama-sanjo stn
Admission: free
075-981-3001

Kokuhou Zennsuiji Setsubun-e

Zensuiji Temple, Shiga
Feb 3

A bean-throwing ceremony is held annually at the main hall, which is a national treasure, of this temple. It is said of the three demons, one is greed, another is fury, the last one is folly and they are purified at the ceremony. There will be a dance performed by the three demons at the ending of the ceremony.

Time: 2pm
Getting there: JR Kusatsu line, Kouzai stn, bus Iwane
Admission: Adults ¥500 high school/ junior high school students ¥300
0748-72-3730

Setstubun-sai Festival

Naritasan Fudoson, Osaka
Feb 3

There will be a bean throwing ceremony at this temple. Some famous people will participate.

Time: 12pm, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm
Getting there: Keihan Railway Korien stn, 15-min walk
Admission: free
072-833-8881

Setsubun-sai Festival

Ishikiritsurugiya-jinja, Osaka
Feb 3

There will be a bean throwing ceremony at this Shinto shrine.

Time: 11am, 1pm and 3pm
Getting there: Kintetsu Railway Higashi Osaka line, Shin-Ishikiri stn, 7-min walk
Admission: free
0729- 82- 3621

Otoh Matsuri

Kannokura-jinja Shrine
Feb 6

About 2000 men in white run down steep stairs holding a torch in each hand. It looks as if a river of flame is running through the mountain. Participation in this festival requires bravery and can be aggressive some- times. Only men visit the shrine on this day.

Time: 5pm
Getting there: JR Kisei line, Shingu stn 15-min walk
Admission: free
0735-23-333

Hari Kuyo

Horinji Temple, Kyoto
Feb 8

This temple housed the deity of needlework and entertainment. People bring broken needles or rusty needles to the temple and give thanks for their work. The needles are placed into jelly–like food made from the starch of yams and called konyaku. This means that the needles are released from hard work and finally relax in something soft.

Time: 1pm
Getting there: JR Sagano line, Sagano stn • Hankyu Railway, Arashiyama line, Arashiyama stn
Admission: free
075-861-0069

Sunakake Matsuri

Hirose-jinja Shrine, Nara
Feb 11

This is very unusual ritual but so much fun to participate in. There will be a thrilling sand fight between visitors to the shrine and the priests who dress up as spirits of a rice field. Do not forget to bring a raincoat and put your camera into a plastic bag so that you prevent yourself and the camera from getting covered in sand.

Time: 2pm
Getting there: JR Yamatoji line, Horyuji stn, 30-min walk
Admission: free
0745-56-2065

EVENT section compiled by Yuki Uchibori

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