Setsubun Saitama Oni mamemaki

Setsubun Saitama- Setsubun is a traditional festival held every year on February 3rd. Historically setsubun, which literally means seasonal division, was a four day period marking the changing of the seasons. Risshun is, with rare exceptions, on February 4th. Risshun is the first day of spring and historically the start of a new year. The eve of risshun came to be the day that setsubun is celebrated, hence February 3rd is the most common date.

The featured photo is the hanachozu at Saimyoji Temple in Kawagoe the last week in January 2024. The oni demons will probably be in the hanachozu until at least February 3rd 2024.

Celebrating Setsubun Saitama

There are various ways to celebrate Setsubun and they vary according to district or region. But a common element of most, if not all, is mamemaki – bean throwing. Mamemaki is done to rid the house of demons. Kids often do it at preschool or in the local community centers also. But for adults, the most rewarding place is at a temple or shrine. Apart from throwing beans, they also throw trinkets and even money sometimes! You can read more about setsubun, and even pick up a few free resources for the festival, here. And more about what to expect at a mamemaki throwing event here.

👹Setsubun Saitama 👹

Here is a selection of ten fun places to enjoy mamemaki (bean throwing ceremonies) for the Setsubun festival in Saitama. Most of these setsubun events are held annually on February 3rd, unless stated otherwise, regardless of what day of the week it is. I have included a few that are on a different date for anyone who can’t make one on February 3rd. There are hundreds of places you can celebrate setsubun, I tried to include places that offer something a little bit extra and / or different. All of these have been confirmed for 2024:

  1. Kijin (Kidin) Shrine
  2. Sougan-ji
  3. Chichibu Shrine
  4. Mamemaki at a hot spring!
  5. Musashi Ichinomiya Hikawa Shrine
  6. Mitsuzo-in
  7. Yakyu Inari
  8. Renkei-ji
  9. Mamemaki Train
  10. Kitain Temple

Setsubun Saitama

1. Kijin Shrine (Kidin Shrine) 鬼鎮神社

Image from the Ranzan Town website

Kijin, or Kidin, is a rare shrine that is dedicated to “oni”, Japanese demons of Setsubun. As such, setsubun is an important annual event at this shrine. However, as it is not a particularly large shrine and the neighborhood is small, this setsubun festival has a more local atmosphere than most others on this list. Usually two ‘oni’ Japanese demons participate at this festival. The red and blue (which is actually green) demon. However, this event was not on between 2021 and 2023. But they are planning to have it in 2024 for the first time in four years.

Setsubun Hours: between 3 and 5 pm in a normal year.
Address: 1898 Kawashima, Ranzan, Hiki District, Saitama 355-0213
Access: The nearest station is Musashi Ranzan on the Tobu Tojo Line.
Parking: limited.

No official website. Information on the Ranzan Town Website. More information in English on this website.


2. Souganji, Kazo City

The wildest setsubun festival in Saitama, near Tokyo

The Setsubun festival at Fudougaoka Fudouson Souganji Temple in Kazo is famous throughout Kanto and beyond. It is widely recognized as the ‘wildest’ setsubun event in Saitama. In addition, famous people usually participate in the festivities at this shrine! Apart from the usual bean throwing event, when temple officials throw beans from a dias, they also have performances by “oni”, Japanese for demon. A red, blue and black demon, perform three times in the afternoon of setsubun. This is one of the rarer and more illustrious setsubun events in the Kanto plain.

Event time: from 11 am to 10 pm.
Address: 2 Chome-9-18 Fudooka, Kazo, Saitama 347-0054
Access: 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, but not available on the day of the setsubun celebrations.

More information in English. Official website


3. Chichibu Shrine, Chichibu

The setsubun festival at this shrine is widely known. It is one of the larger and livelier setsubun celebrations and involves dozens of demons! They have mamemaki bean throwing ceremonies five times during the day, then at night they have the “Tsuinasai”. This is when they have oni yarai, an event to chase off the demons! There is night illumination in the area currently too, until the end of February, for the Chichibu Illuminate event.

Mamemaki / Setsubun ceremony hours: 10.30 am, 11 am, 11.30 am, 2 pm, 3 pm and 7.30 pm.
Address: 1-3 Banbamachi, Chichibu, Saitama Prefecture 368-0041. View on Google Maps..
Access: Close to Seibu Chichibu station.
Parking: Free parking for about 30 cars and charged parking for about 50 cars. (There maybe changes on the day due to the celebrations). There is coin parking in the vicinity.

Official website.


4. At a hot spring

Mamemaki bean throwing Ofuro Cafe Hareniwa

There are quite a few hot springs that have a mamemaki event on Setsbun itself. But at Kumagaya’s Hareniwa no Yu they will have a mamemaki event on three dates – January 20th, 27th and February 3rd. The same company that run Hareniwa no Yu also run Tamagawa Onsen in Tokigawa, where there will also be a mamemaki event, but just on February 3rd. Confirmed for 2024.

Mamemaki time: 3 pm
Address: Hareniwa no Yu, 939 Kubojima, Kumagaya, Saitama 360-0831
Access: the nearest train station is Kagohara station on the JR Takasaki Line. It takes about 20 minutes on foot.
Parking: free and plentiful, but spread over three different car parks, two of which are quite a walk from the facility.

An alternative option: Yakyu Inari which had setsubun last year and are planning it for 2024 too.

This entry used to be for a very fun and special mascot setsubun at Bishamondo, but it doesn’t appear to be on in 2024, for the fourth year in a row.


5. Musashi Ichinomiya Hikawa Shrine

The setsubun festival at Musashi Ichinomiya Hikawa Shrine involves a Japanese archery performance followed by special guests throwing beans from the dais. They perform a bean throwing ceremony at three different times. Be warned, there will be a lot of people! But it adds to the festive atmosphere! Confirmed for 2024.

Bean throwing times: 12.30 pm, 2 pm and 3 pm.
Address: 〒330-0803 Saitama Prefecture, Saitama, Omiya Ward, Takahanacho, 1-407
Access: 20 minute walk from JR Omiya and Tobu Kita Omiya stations (in Omiya Park)
Parking: no parking for big occasions such as setsubun and New Years. (usually there is parking for 130 cars)

Official website.

An alternative option: Tamashiki Shrine are planning to have their setsubun festival this year.


6. Mitsuzoin, Kawaguchi 密蔵院

Setsubun mamemaki at Mitsuzoin temple in Kawaguchi

Mitsuzoin Temple in Kawaguchi is famous for its ‘angyo’ cherry blossoms that bloom around the Vernal Equinox. The standard chant at the bean throwing ceremony of a setsubun festival is “Oni ha soto, fuku ha uchi” meaning ‘demons out, luck in’. But at Mitsuzoin, they do not say “Oni wa Soto”, only “Fuku wa Uchi” (luck in). They say even if you chase the demons out, they still do bad things outside. So instead they compassionately include them in the wish for good fortune! In addition, on setsubun annually Mitsuzoin also have a grand memorial service that boasts over 1,300 years of history. It prays for the instant destruction of the seven misfortunes and the instant rebirth of the seven blessings thus turning disasters into good fortune.

Setsubun festival Hours: from 3 pm
Address: 2008 Angyohara, Kawaguchi, Saitama 334-0057. View on Google Maps.
Access: unless you want to walk about 40 minutes from Tozuka-Angyo station, you need to get a bus from either Kawaguchi, Nishi-Kawaguchi or Soka stations. Most of the bus stops are about a 15 minute walk from the temple, but there is also a bus that goes from Tozuka-Angyo station that stops just a five minute walk from the temple at Angyo Shisho 安行支所 bus stop.

Official website.


7. Yakyu Inari

Setsubun mame bean holders for the mamemaki aka bean throwing ceremony Yakyu Inari

One of the better known mamemaki ceremonies is at Yakyu Inari, aka the baseball shrine. This area of Saitama is good for children’s mamemaki. At Yakyu Inari shrine the last mamemaki of the day, at 4 pm, is for children. There are several other mamemaki during the day, performed after ritual blessings. If you would like to get a blessing, it costs 5000 yen and you need to register in advance. They also have a bean lottery! It costs 100 yen and you get a small pack of beans with it.

Hours: they have various ceremonies during the day, some of which require a fee and advance registration, and they throw beans after each. The children’s mamemaki is at 4 pm.
Address: Yakyu Inari, 2 Chome-5-14 Yakyucho, Higashimatsuyama, Saitama 355-0028. View on Google Maps.
Access: close to Higashimatsuyama station on the Tobu Tojo line.
Parking: available, free.

More information about the shrine in English. Official event page.


8. Renkei-ji, Kawagoe

Renkeiji temple setsubun Kawagoe 2024

I’ve included Renkeiji in Kawagoe on this list, because it has its setsubun festival in January, not February 3rd. There are a few other places that hold there festivals on a separate date to setsubun, but few as prominent as Renkeiji. Moreover, Renkeiji also have a colorful procession on the day. They have confirmed their setsubun festival for 2024, but you have to apply by January 25th to participate.

Event Hours: Sunday January 28th 2024 from around 2 pm.
Address: Renkeiji, 〒350-0066 Saitama, Kawagoe, Renjakucho, 7−1. View on Google Maps.
Access: between a 10 and 15 minute walk from each of Kawagoe tourist area’s stations – Kawagoe, Kawagoeshi and Hon-Kawagoe.
Parking: none. There is plenty of coin parking in the area.

More information in English. Official website.

Also in Kawagoe: Naritasan in nearby Kawagoe will also have a Setsbun Festival in 2024.


9. The Mamemaki Train

Setsubun in Saitama, Chichibu Mamemaki train

If you want to enjoy a bean throwing ceremony somewhere other than a shrine, there are lots of choices. But few are as fun as the mamemaki train! The mamemaki train is run by Chichibu Railway, between Kumagaya and Chichibu train stations. This event has been confirmed for 2024.

Event Hours: the train will depart Kumagaya station at 11.35 am and arrive at Chichibu station 1.24 pm.
Address: Kumagaya Station, 2 Chome-115 Tsukuba, Kumagaya, Saitama 360-0037. View on Google Maps.
Access: from Kumagaya station!
Parking: none. There is coin parking in the vicinity of Kumagaya Station.

Official website

More information in English


10. Kitain Temple, Kawagoe

Setsubun

This is one we’ve been to a few times personally for setsubun. It is the biggest one in Kawagoe city. However, unlike other temples and shrines, they only perform mamemaki once, unless it is a weekend, which it is in 2024. There are festival stalls and, if you missed the annual Daruma market, another opportunity to buy a daruma for the year. This event has been confirmed for 2024. But always, please check the official website before heading out the door for any last minute changes or cancellations.

Hours: 12.30 pm to 1.30 pm.
Address: Kitain, 1 Chome-20-1 Kosenbamachi, Kawagoe-shi, Saitama-ken 350-0036
Access: 15 walk from Hon Kawagoe station, 20 minute walk from Tobu Tojo Kawagoe Station
Parking: for 100 cars, 500 yen for three hours. Tends to be very busy during events.

Official website. More information for setsubun in English on this website.

Do you practise setsubun? Where do you usually go?

Wherever you do go for setsubun in Saitama, I hope you get a blessing for the year ahead, catch a great stash and have some fun too!

Editors note: last republish on January 1st 2020. Date temporarily changed to August 25th 2021. Updated annually. Last update January 30th 2024.

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