setsubun saitama

Setsubun Saitama- Setsubun is a religious ceremony practiced 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.

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. For a really different mamemaki, check out the mascot led setsubun in Hanyu.

👹Setsubun Saitama 👹

Here is a selection of ten fun places to enjoy mamemaki (bean throwing ceremonies) for the Setsubun festival in Saitama. The majority of them are at religious sites, but there is one on a train! Each of these setsubun events (unless stated otherwise) are held annually on February 3rd, regardless of what day of the week it is. However, since 2021, unfortunately many of these places have suspended their bean throwing event. As most temples and shrines are in “hatsumode” mode until at the end of January, information for setsubun is often last minute. However, a few have already released information for the 2023 season and I have updated those…

  1. Kijin Shrinecancelled in 2023
    • Alternative suggestion for 2023
  2. Souganji – confirmed for 2023
  3. Hikawa Shrine Omiya – unknown
    • Alternative suggestion for 2023
  4. Menuma Shodenzan – confirmed for 2023
  5. Tokorozawa Shinmei Shrine – advance application needed for 2023
    • Alternative suggestion for 2023
  6. Anraku-ji – unknown
    • Alternative suggestion for 2023
  7. Chichibu Shrine – confirmed for 2023
  8. Mitsumine Shrinecancelled in 2023
    • Alternative suggestion for 2023
  9. Mamemaki Train – confirmed for 2023 for the first time in three years
  10. Kitain Temple – confirmed for 2023 for the first time in three years

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. Unfortunately, they will not be having a bean throwing ceremony in 2023 for the third year in a row. They will have a shinto ceremony and there will be bean throwing carried out separately within the community. However, the red and blue (which is actually green) demon will not be participating in either the shinto ceremony or the local celebrations.

Setsubun Hours: between 3 and 5 pm in a normal year, but not in 2023.
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.

An alternative option for 2023: Yakyu Inari which have confirmed setsubun in 2023.

2. Souganji, Kazo City

2023 setsubun Souganji

The Setsubun festival at Fudougaoka Fudouson Souganji Temple in Kazo is famous throughout Kanto and beyond. 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.

Official website

3. Hikawa Shrine, Omiya

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. Each year approximately 2,000,000 people visit the shrine. The walkway to the shrine is said to be the longest in Japan. As of January 26th 2023, they still haven’t announced yet either way whether they will have the mamemaki this year! For what its worth, in 2021 had already announced the cancellation by mid January.

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. Image from the official site

An alternative option for 2023: Tamashiki Shrine will have their setsubun festival on Saturday the 4th.

Menuma Shodenzan, a designated Japanese national treasure, is one of Japan’s three great Shoden temples. It is affectionately referred to as the Saitama Nikko for its stunning architecture. The setsubun event draws hundreds of excited participants hoping to catch a few of the treats the officials throw to the crowds. They are planning to have their Setsubun event in 2023 for the first time in three years.

Bean throwing: the 2023 specifics are not yet available (early January 2023), but normally there are three sessions at noon, 4 and 8 pm
Address: 1511 Menuma, Kumagaya, Saitama Prefecture 360-0201
Access: 25 minute bus ride from JR Kumagaya station
Parking: they usually have some sort of parking set up for big occasions such as setsubun and New Years.

Official website.

5. Shinmei Shrine, Tokorozawa 所澤神明社

This is another one of the shrines where famous people participate in the bean throwing ceremony. Another is Hisaizu Shrine in Iwatsuki, Saitama City. However, things are very different in 2023, as they were in 2022 also. They will have a setsubun festival, but on a smaller scale than usual. Moreover, the setsubun ceremony will only be performed by priests. For 5000 yen you can get the setsubun / risshun set with amulets, beans etc, but it has to be done by the end of January. There will also be no sake or amazake this year.

Hours: the hours of the shrine are from 8.30 am to 5 pm. Normally the setsubun festivities in the afternoon, but in 2023 they will be in the morning.
Address: 1 Chome-2-4 Miyamotocho, Tokorozawa, Saitama 359-1143. View on Google Maps.
Access: about an eight minute walk from Koku-koen station on the Seibu Shinjuku line, which is also the station for Tokorozawa Aviation Park and Aviation Museum.
Parking: there are three separate parking lots – one to the North of the shrine, one to the West and one to the East of the large torii.

Official Website

Alternative suggestion for 2023: if you didn’t get an application in on time for this event, there is an alternative in Tokorozawa. The Setsubun Festival at Musashino Reiwa Shrine on Saturday the 4th.

6. Anraku-ji, Yoshimi

sitting daibutsu at yoshimi kannon

Despite the remote location of Anraku-ji, also known as Yoshimi Kannon, thousands of worshipers pay homage annually. The main reason is that the shrine is on a famous pilgrimage of 33 temples. Like Yakyu Inari in neighboring Higashimatsuyama, Anrakuji aka Yoshimi Kannon, also usually has a children’s bean throwing ceremony. However, no information is available yet (February 1st) for 2022.

Event Hours: the children’s mamemaki is from 4 pm on setsubun in a normal year
Address: 374 Gosho, Yoshimi, Hiki District, Saitama 355-0151
Access: The nearest station is Higashimatsuyama Station on the Tobu Tojo line. By car, the nearest interchanges are Kawajima on the Ken-o expressway or Higashimatsuyama on the Kanetsu expressway.
Parking: Most people walk to this temple as its on a pilgrimage course. It is very short on parking, but there is some parking beside Lake Hatcho and there is a short cut from the lake to the temple.

Official website

Alternative suggestion for 2023: Naritasan in nearby Kawagoe will have a Setsbun Festival in 2023. Information on the official website (in Japanese). General information about the temple in English.

7. Chichibu Shrine, Chichibu

Tsuinasai demon performance at Chichibu Shrine Saitama Prefecture for Setsubun

Not only is the Chichibu Shrine event confirmed for 2023, they will also have a NAKED Inc event running simultaneously. The setsubun festival at this shrine is widely known. It is one of the larger setsubun celebrations and involves dozens of demons! There are mamemaki bean throwing ceremonies five times during the day, then at night they have the “Tsuinasai”. This is when the demons perform. Moreover, the shrine will be lit up too, for the NAKED Inc 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 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.

8. Mitsumine Shrine, Chichibu

Each year on Setsubun, the Mitsumine Shrine has a religious festival “Gomottomo Sama”. This year that festival will only be open to priests to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus. But the “Gomottomo” stick can be ordered and sent to you after the blessing from the shrine. Please note that they normally have the bean throwing in January at Mitsumine Shrine and not on Setsubun itself. However, in 2022 and 2023, they have actually cancelled the public event.

*Please note that since the beginning of 2020 the shrine is enforcing strict policies for photographers with a reminder to all that this is a place of worship.*

Setsubun ceremony Hours (in a non pandemic year): in a normral year, not in 2023, 7 am, 11 am, noon, 2 pm and 4 pm.
Address: 298−1 Mitsumine, Chichibu-shi, Saitama-ken 369-1902
Access: Over an hour on a bus from Seibu Chichibu Station
Parking: for 250 cars

Official website.

Alternative suggesion for 2023: on the polar opposite side of Saitama! Mitsuzoin Temple in Kawaguchi, which is famous for its early blooming cherry blossoms, will have their setsubun festivities this year. Information in Japanese on the official website.

9. The 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. Right now, in January / February 2023, they also have a winter night illumination train on select dates. This one is a bit different than the usual so I will direct you to the event post:

10. Kitain Temple, Kawagoe


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. In 2023 it is not weekend, it is on a Friday. There are festival stalls and, if you missed the annual Daruma market, another opportunity to buy a daruma for the year.

Hours: normally noon to 1.30 pm, but in 2023 it will be from 12.30 pm to 1.30 pm.
Address: 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 February 2nd 2023.


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