February is when the annual Setsubun rituals are held throughout Japan at local shrines and temples. Be sure to enjoy the unique experience of exorcising evil spirits, praying for good health and luck, and eating the ceremonial beans – one for each year of your age, plus one for the next year depending on your area’s customs. February is also the season when the plum trees are coming into full bloom, lighting up still barren gardens with sprigs of pink and pale blossoms. Add in the chance of snow, and it’s a month anyone can enjoy.
Kitano Tenmangū is host to one of the most well-known Setsubun festivals in February, featuring a kyōgen play and performances by the geiko and maiko of Kamishichiken.See more
Heian Jingū is host to one of Kyoto's Setsubun festivals in February, featuring an age-old ritual, a gang of frightening ogres, bean throwing, and a fire ritual.See more
At Sanzen-in in February, local women and parishioners turn out bright and early to begin making large vats of delicious radish for the Hatsu Uma Daikondaki.See more
On February 11th Japan celebrates National Foundation Day, commemorating the creation of the country of Japan and the ascension of the largely mythical Emperor Jimmu to the throne as the very first Emperor.See more
The Buddhist memorial service of Godai Rikison Ninno’e is held at Daigo-ji each year in accordance with the teachings of the temple’s founder, and features a popular event called the Mochi-age in which participants compete to see who can hold two heavy rice cakes aloft the longest.See more
An event that combines Shinto spirituality, seasonal plum blossoms, green tea, and lovely maiko and geiko, Kitano Tenmangū's Baikasai (Plum Blossom Festival) on February 25th is a must-see for anyone lucky enough to be in Kyoto!See more
Though Japan may be famous for its cherry blossoms, those knowledgeable about their greenery are aware that there are actually many more flowering trees and plants popular for seasonal viewing nationwide – including plum.See more