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Setsubun Festival at Kitano Tenmangu Shrine

Every year on this day, many temples and shrines in Kyoto hold Setsubun festivals. For each of them have their unique features, sometimes I cannot decide which festival I should go. Last year, I visited Yosahida shrine (吉田神社) and Syogoin (聖護院) temple, and this year, I went to Mibudera (壬生寺) and Kitano Tenmangu Shrine (北野天満宮).

In Kyoto, we have a particular way of spending Setubun called Yomomairi (四方参り, visiting four shrines guarding the Imperial palace from four directions). According to the myth, a demon appears at Yoshida shrine on the Setsubun night, moves to Yasaka shrine (八坂神社), and to Mibu temple, trying to run away from the pursuers. Finally it escapes into Kitano Tenmangu shrine, only to be confined in the shrine forever.

At Kitano Tenmangu shrine, various kinds of ritual event of dedication, such as Kitano Tuina Kyogen (北野追儺狂言, a play of Noh comedy) by Shigeyama Sengoro school (茂山千五郎社中, an authentic clan of Noh comedy), as well as Japanese dancing by Maiko (舞妓) and Geiko (芸妓) from the Kamishichiken (上七軒) district, are conducted on that day.

As the bean throwing starts, the festival reaches its climax. I also got a bag of lucky beans.

Akane Kibune
Kyoto Expert Certification 1st Grade

5 mins. on foot from Kitano Tenmangu, kyoto City bus



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