5 Selected Shrines and Temples in Osaka That Have Setsubun Events
February 4 is the New Year in the lunar calendar, and in Japan there was a court event called "tsuina" that was performed to expel evil spirits and call good fortune on February 3, New Year's Eve. It has been passed down to modern-day Japan through the holiday of Setsubun on February 3rd, when people hold events such as mamemaki (bean throwing), hoping for good health and fortune. Here are 5 shrines and temples in Osaka that hold Setsubun events.
1. Naritasan Fudoson
Official name: Daihonzan Naritasan Osaka Betsuin Myo-o-in
This is a branch shrine of Naritasan Shinshoji Temple in Narita-shi, Chiba. It is also called "Naritasan Fudoson." During the Setsubun ceremony on February 3, people pray for traffic safety, good luck, the expulsion of evil spirits, and prosperity. They prepare a special stage of about 150 meters upon which they have large boxes of beans so they can have a splendid mamemaki. Mamemaki is held 5 times in total, and at 10:30 am, 1:00 pm, and 3:00 pm, celebrities are the one throwing the beans. Every year, the cast of the popular Asadora morning drama on NHK appear in this event, and many people look forward to it. Normally during Setsubun, people call "oni wa soto" and "fuku wa uchi" as they throw beans, meaning "demons out" and "luck in," as the beans are symbolic of expelling demons and evil. However, at Naritasan, they only say "fuku wa uchi." They don't have to expel evil spirits because the demons are purified by the mercy of Ofudo-sama. Please check it out during your visit!
2. Osaka Tenmangu Shrine
Osaka Tenmangu Shrine was built in 949, and thus has a history of over 1,000 years. It is nicknamed Tenma-no Tenjinsan and is said to bestow blessings over education. There is a Japanese garden on the vast grounds and quite a solemn atmosphere. It is one of the popular tourist spots in Osaka. During the Setsubun event, the Setsubun Yakuyoke Festival to ward off evil is held from 3:00 pm, and the prayer fee is 2,000 yen for one person. This shrine is also famous for a local seaweed charity sale that is held on this day, hosted by groups like seaweed cooperative associations. It's said that eating fat futomaki sushi rolls on Setsubun will give you good luck, so they're given to the first 1,000 people. Numbered tickets will be given out starting at 10:30 am so get there early if you want one! All 1,000 people eat the sushi silently while facing the year's lucky direction for maximum luck.
3. Ishikiri Tsurugiya Shrine
Ishikiri Tsurugiya Shrine is a historical shrine, said to be founded in the BC era. Many people visit for blessings through cancer treatment. It's famous for "ohyakudo mairi," which is the repetition of praying in front of the main shrine and returning to the entrance 100 times in order to have one's desires granted. During Setsubun, they hold mamemaki three times at 11:00 am, 1:00 pm, and 3:00 pm in the Emaden, a building with a sword on the roof. Mochi (rice cakes) with prize tickets are also thrown, exciting the crowd. The neighboring approach paths are also lively, so it is recommended that you drop in for a short visit.
4. Domyoji Tanmangu Shrine
This high-class shrine enshrines the deity of scholarship, is and famous for plum trees. According to lore, its predecessor Haji shrine was established around the year 3, and was renamed to the current one in 947. A lot of people visit this shrine in February and March when the plum blossoms are in bloom, and there is a special exhibition of national treasure collections, such as articles left by Sugawara no Michizane, who was a famous scholar and a politician in the Heian period (794-1185). On February 3, the Setsubun Yakuyoke Taisaihoshi Festival is held from 6:30 pm, and mamemaki starts at 7:00 pm. Visitors can also participate. After the Shinto ritual, everyone throws beans at an ogre, and this event finishes when the ogre goes away. Please visit this shrine hoping for the good luck of the year!
5. Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine
This is the grand head shrine of all Sumiyoshi shrines, which has about 2,300 shrines in Japan. This shrine has a history of more than 1800 years, and it has many spots to see, such as the Sorihashi Bridge and the Omokaruishi stone used to forecast the fulfillment of one's desire. A Shinto ritual is held during Setsubun, celebrating the new year. At 9:00 am, a dedication including gorgeous Kagura dances meant as an offering to the deity is is held. Throughout the grounds, they serve zenzai (Japanese sweet azuki bean soup) with mochi and tea for free. Many people visit this shrine for this, so why not join them?
If you come to Osaka during Setsubun, please visit one of these shrines or temples!
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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