All About Japan

Annual Bean-Tossing Events Held Across Japan

| Temples , Shrines

In a way to welcome good fortune and drive out the bad, annual bean-throwing events, a festival called Setsubun, occurred in various parts of Japan on February 2. Setsubun, the day before spring on the Japanese lunar calendar, can fall anywhere between February 2-4.

"In with good fortune! In with good fortune!"

Organizers limited the number of people taking part to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. At Naritasan Shinshoji Temple east of Tokyo, they canceled the custom of having visitors pick up the scattered dried beans.

Bean-tossing is a traditional ritual held to welcome the arrival of spring and pray for good fortune in the coming year. At Hakone Shrine, southwest of Tokyo, organizers decided not to allow visitors into the area where the beans are thrown at. Instead, they placed writing that calls for driving the pandemic away with some participants playing the role of the devil. Visitors watched from a distance.

At nearby Lake Ashi, the devils rode on a boat as people hurled beans at them from a ship.