Setsubun at Shimogamo

Fresh, freezing
White moon on a blue sky –
Eygrets flying home

Yesterday saw Kyoto burst out in a riot of demons and bean-throwing as the city indulged in Setsubun activities.  (For an explanation, click here.)  At Shimogamo the day kicked off in the morning with a priestly ceremony and kyudo archery display, followed by afternoon bean throwing with an unexpected guest and the ritual burning of gomaki prayers in a bonfire.  Pictures of the day follow below…

Priests during the rituals to initiate the day's events. The sole priestess is wearing an unusual headdress.

Priests' shoes. Guess which pair belongs to the priestess...

Before the bean-throwing was a short ritual. Look carefully; one of the participants might seem a bit odd.

Bean throwing. Disney meets Shinto with the Kyoto Tower character, Tawawa-chan.


Following the bean throwing participants were given a sprig of plum blossom (nice touch!) and paid Y200 for a warming cup of sweet saké, heavily laced with ginger and totally delicious. I had two!

Following the saké there was a fire ceremony to send prayers written on wooden tablets up to heaven

The fire rages as more wooden tablets are thrown on


Smoke rising from the burning ofuda and omamori behind the priests

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