The Setsubun festival acts like a second New Year celebration. Japanese people clean their homes and undergo rituals to cleanse the demons of the former year and drive away disease of the year to come. This can include the Mamemaki ritual, when roasted soybeans (translated as “fortune beans”) are thrown out the door by a family member wearing a demon mask, and others shout “demons out, luck in!” Soybeans are eaten afterward, for an extra measure of good luck.
It’s grown popular to celebrate this tradition at public shrines, where large numbers converge to watch public figures and famous performers toss soybeans over the crowd. One of the biggest gatherings is at Tokyo’s oldest temple, Senso-ji. Here you can watch a traditional parade from 11:30 pm and see the famous Fukuji-no-mai fortune dance. Local celebrities are scheduled to toss beans from around 4 pm.
It’s a unique experience you’ll only see in Japan!