Setsubun means ‘Bean-Throwing Festival’, and is held the day before the beginning of spring in Japan, in association with the Lunar New Year. It is seen as a ritual to drive away evil spirits for the year to come.

A geisha at the Setsubun at Yasaka Shrine in Kyoto’s Gion district. The geishas perform a dance before throwing lucky beans into the crowd (photos by age fotostock/ Robert Harding)

A geisha at the Setsubun, beginning of spring festival at Yasaka Shrine in Kyotos Gion district

Temple monks and workers throwing the soya beans to people at Yasaka Shrine

Temple monks and workers throwing beans to people during the Setsubun rituals at Yasaka Shrine

A maiko, or apprentice geisha, taking part in the Setsubun

A Maiko taking part in the Setsubun Rituals at Yasaka Shine

Costumed participants at Yasaka Shine during the festival

Participants taking part in the Setsubun Rituals at Yasaka Shine

See more photos of Setsubun here

3 thoughts on “Setsubun

  1. Beautiful pictures! The first Maiko dancing looks like Maiko Chisako-san ^^ I’m not 100% sure though. However, the Maiko out of her full regalia, in the pink, looks like Maiko Fukunae-san ^^ These pictures really are lovely, they both look beautiful~

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