February

February is when the popular Setsubun events are held, the plum blossoms begin to bloom, and snow still falls.

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.

Oni appears at Setsubun at Kitano Tenmangū.
February 3rd, 2018

Setsubun at Kitano Tenmangū

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.

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Heian Jingu Setsubun Oni Dance
February 3rd, 2018

Setsubun-sai at Heian Jingū

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.

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Ohara Sanzen-in Daikondaki
February 9th - 12th, 2018

Hatsu Uma Daikondaki

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.

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Kendō participants prepare during Kigen-sai at Kamigamo Shrine.
February 11th, 2018

Kigen-sai

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.

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Fire ritual before a statue during the Mochi-age at Daigo-ji temple.
February 23rd, 2018

Godai Rikison Ninnō’e & Mochi-age

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.

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Geiko, Maiko, tables and crowd during the Baikasai tea ceremony at Kitano Tenmangu shrine.
February 25th, 2018

Baikasai

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!

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Brown-eared Bulbul in the plums at Zuishin-in temple.
February 1st - March 20th, 2018

Plum Blossoms

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.

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