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Updated: December 17, 2019
Setsubun is a traditional bean-throwing event held at shrines and temples across Japan. It marks the end of winter. First held for the common people at Sensoji Temple, this large event was memorialized in a legendary old guide to the famous places in Edo (as Tokyo was formerly known).
Usually participants shout "Demons out; fortune in!" as they throw beans, but at Asakusa's celebration, the phrase is changed to "Long life, fortune in!" This is because it is believed that no demons can be present in front of Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of mercy to whom the temple is dedicated.
At the celebration on Sunday, February 3, you can also see the "seven lucky gods" dance, which is one of Sensoji's most famous rituals. After the dance, famous personalities connected to Asakusa throw beans and make merry around the temple grounds. This bean-throwing ceremony starts around 16:00 and is hosted by the Asakusa Tourism Federation.