Setsubun: Bean-Throwing Festival at Saijo Inari in Okayama City

Setsubun: Bean-Throwing Festival at Saijo Inari in Okayama City

Ohayo minna! It’s Mr. Wada back on duty. I would like to introduce you the bean-throwing festival at Saijo Inari this time.

Setsubun: Bean-Throwing Festival at Saijo Inari in Okayama City

As I’ve introduced Mamemaki, the bean-throwing tradition in Japan, there are events held in many cities. And this time I happened to join one in Okayama City at Saijo Inari which is a big shrine where many people gather during the new year’s holiday for hatsumode (the first visit to the shrine of the year). The event is normally held on the Setsubun Day which is early February. 100,000 bags of lucky beans get thrown at the participants. So it seem that a chance is high.

The giant Torii is a land mark (near JR Takamatsu Station)

 

Path to the Shrine

Walk through stores to the shrine. It reminds me of the long stairs and path at Kotohiragu Shrine in Kagawa Prefecture (but this one isn’t that long).

 

Entrance of the shrine.

 

War Begins!

Here we are. I was a bit late but people were still hearing such a long speech by the mayor. As he’s done talking, people started gathering to the central and the war would begin.

 

Divided by male side and female side.

 

It was a real war. Guys pushed each other and many guys fell/collapsed! Watch out! But only after 60 seconds or so, it stopped. What? That’s it? However, I learned that there would be more rounds. We had some break like for 10 minutes.

 

After some performance by a guest musician for 10 minutes-ish, another round began. This time I got myself into the crowd beforehand. As the Mayer gave a cue, people up there started throwing the bags. I tried to reach them and even jumped a little but it was way too hard. Then I saw some bags on the ground. Some guys also realized it. I grabbed one and looked up the sky and saw some bags coming this way. Stretched out my arms and successfully got another bag in my hand! ‘OK, I am done!’ said in my mind and I got out of the crowd, but I sensed my baseball cap was gone! After people left, I found my cap on the ground (stamped and damaged). Oh boy….

 

Tada. The catches so-called lucky beans (fuku-mame). I hope it brings me luck.

 

Alrighty, let’s call it a day.

 

Information

Name Saijo Inari (最上稲荷)
Access
712 Takamatsuinari, Kita-ku, Okayama-shi, Okayama-ken

Website http://www.inari.ne.jp/en/

 

Main shrine of Saijo Inari.

 

Lastly

How do you find it? It was rough but not too hard, I’d say. In fact, some guys was holding a bunch of bean bags. How did they do it?

See you around!

What is Ehomaki and Setsubun Anyways?

setsubun and mamemaki

Hellow, it’s Mr. Wada back on duty. I would like to introduce Setsubun and Ehomaki this time.

What is Setsubun and Ehomaki, Anyways?

What is Setsubun?

It is a seasonal event in Japan to shoo away demons that are believed to come in between seasons but today just once a year, to be specific on the February 3rd. People throw beans (available at supermarket at the time of the year) towards out the doors/windows while saying ‘Oniwa Soto, Fuku wa Uchi (鬼は外、福は内)’. It means like ‘demons out, luck stays in’ for wishing well-being (especially for kids) and eat numbers of beans which are your age + 1. Example, 10 pieces for a 9 years old.

 

What happens after? Well, clean the mess. (=_=)ooOOO

 

What is Ehomaki?

Ehomaki is a sushi roll eaten on the Setsubun Day. In the late 80’s, Seven Eleven in Hiroshima started promoting ehomaki based on this tradition in Osaka and it spread in the late 90’s and had become a new tradition.

These are rules while eating an ehomaki.

  • Face the lucky direction for the year.
  • Do not speak a word until you are done eating.

 

What Direction to Face?

The eho (lucky direction) is supposed to be where god is and it is different every year (he moves?). no worries, there is the eho checker. Type your location and search.

 

 

Lastly

How do you find it? Interactive custom like this could be fun. There are often Setsubun events going on in cities. Why don’t you join and share your thoughts with us?

See you around!