The Setsubun festival at Fudougaoka Fudouson Souganji Temple in Kazo is famous throughout Kanto and beyond. It is probably Saitama’s most famous setsubun-kai? So much so, champion sumo wrestlers, even yokozuna have participated in the mamemaki bean throwing in the past. Apart from the common practice of mamemaki, throwing beans to ward off demons, they also have a very unique and popular ceremony involving three oni, Japanese type ogre or demon.
Souganji Setsubun Festival
Souganji / Soganji / Sogan Temple – hereafter Souganji – is one of the three major Fudo Temples. They have celebrated the setsubun festival at Souganji for almost 400 years.
The ceremony involves three demons as opposed to the usual two. One demon dresses in red, one in blue and one in black. The demon in red carries a torch, the demon in blue bears a sword and the demon in black holds a bat. They run around the temple throwing out beans and sometimes money. In addition, there are lots of other type of festivities on the day too such as a parade, music, ritual ceremonies and festival booths. Moreover, the festivities carry on into the night.
The festival is held on the 3rd of February every year. Except in 2021 when the festival was cancelled on account of the Coronavirus. But in 2022 the festival is scheduled for February 3rd. The festival at Souganji normally starts at 11 am and finishes at 10 pm. The schedule of the demons appearance is not known, but the bean throwing activities are generally at noon, 4 pm and 8.30 pm.
Setsubun Festival Souganji Access
Address: 2 Chome-9-18 Fudooka, Kazo, Saitama 347-0054. Phone: +81480610031
Take a bus for “Kazo Garage” from Tobu Isesaki Line Kazo Station. 3 minute walk from the garage.
15 minutes by car from Tohoku Expressway Kazo Interchange.
Parking for 500 cars normally, but during the festival you might not be able to use the temple parking.
You can find even more Setsubun events here.
Official website which has lots of photos showcasing this exceptional festival.