How To Celebrate Setsubun In 2021 | CoolJapan

The day of setsubun (節分) typically falls on 3 February, the eve of risshun (立春), the beginning of spring. However, this year will be the first time in 124 years that Setsubun will take place on 2 February instead. According to the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, the arrival of spring is determined based on the precise locations of the sun and the Earth, which is why setsubun falls on 2 February this year.

Setsubun Beans

Setsubun, also called "bean-throwing festival," is an annual tradition to chase away the previous year’s evil spirits and attract luck for the new year.

Traditionally, this event is marked by raucous celebrations and ceremonies in temples across the country, but this year looks to be a muted affair because of ongoing restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Don’t despair — there are still several ways you can mark the occasion.

Pick up good luck charms from the Kyoto Ebisu Jinja

If you happen to be in Kyoto this Spring, be sure to make a beeline for this iconic shrine. With a history that dates back to the 13th century, the Kyoto Ebisu Jinja is known as one of the country’s most popular shrines dedicated to Ebisu, one of the Seven Gods of Fortune. While traditional ceremonies have been scaled down, the temple will continue selling fuku-zasa (a type of lucky bamboo grass that has been blessed in a special ritual) and amulets such as ema and omamori until 2 February.

Get hold of seasonal items from Animal Crossing: New Horizons

For those who aren’t in Kyoto, you can still enjoy setsubun with the release of new items and costumes based on this popular Nintendo life simulation game. In accordance to the setsubun tradition of tossing roasted soybeans as a person dressed as an ogre, Animal Crossing has announced that they’ll be releasing a bean-tossing kit via the Nook Shopping app and an ogre costume via the Able Sisters’ shop starting 1 February.

Treat yourself to a pair of setsubun-inspired apparel from adidas Originals

New year, new clothes! Tokyo streetwear and sneaker boutique atmos has released a special seasonal collaboration with adidas Originals known as the “Setsubun pack”. The limited-edition collection features two sneaker models — the ZX8000 and the ZX 2K Boost — and two long-sleeved T-shirts that have been imprinted with red, green and blue demons. The demon motif features prominently on the sneaker tongue, where the mythical creature has been embroidered onto the tag of the exterior side. You’ll also find fearsome fangs at the sole and an earring-like accessory at the heel.

Enjoy an early viewing of spring blooms at the Atami Baien

Spring Blooms at the Atami Baien

Atami Baien opened in 1886 and contains 469 plum trees of 60 varieties.

Beyond the lively bean-throwing ceremonies, setsubun is also a time of reflection and renewal. The changing of seasons brings with it a sense of anticipation for things to come and where better to contemplate the year ahead's plans than amidst gorgeous early Spring flowers? Atami Baien, located within Shizuoka Prefecture, is a plum blossom garden known to blossom earlier than anywhere else in the country. The park will also be organising a series of live performances under a beautiful canopy of vivid red and pink flowers. For more information on the park’s opening dates and times, click here.