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Setsubun Yakuyoke Ceremony at Mibu-Dera Temple

Mibu-Dera temple is one of the two places famous for Setsubun (節分, February 3, a day before the beginning of spring in Japan) ceremonies along with Yoshida shrine (吉田神社). For me, as a fan of the history in Bakumatsu (幕末, final days of Tokugawa Shogunate), the temple’s deep connection with Shinsengumi (新撰組, a special police force organized by the Tokugawa shogunate) is also very interesting.

Yakuyoke (厄除け, warding off calamity and misfortune) ceremony at Mibu-Dera (壬生寺) temple has a history of nine hundred years and its benefit has been long believed among many Kyoto residents. The ceremony is conducted annually on the day of Setsubun, the day before Risshun (立春, the New Year’s day), all according to Japanese luna-solar calendar, in order to invite a happy New Year by driving evils and misfortunes away.

On February 2, practitioners in Yamabushi (山伏, Japanese mountain ascetic hermits) costumes conduct a large-scale Goma (Holy Fire) Mass. Despite the cold weather, the premises gets crowded with many visitors.

After attending the Yakuyoke ceremony, you will feel new again! Mamemaki (豆まき – bean throwing) at the temple is also fun!

Akane Kibune

Mibu-Dera temple URL:


February 2-4

3 mins. on foot from Mibuderamichi, Kyoto city bus 

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