Setsubun Festival at Yoshida Shrine – February 2nd to February 4th
Setsubun is the day when the end of winter and beginning of spring is traditionally celebrated. On February 2nd to 3rd/4th, usually, people scatter roasted soybeans inside and outside their home, saying “demons get out, happiness come in”. Shrines also hold this event on a larger scale. Yoshida Shrine’s Setsubun event is possibly the most famous and prestigious of these. Yoshida Shrine performs a play where Onis (demons) are beaten by heroes at 18:00 on February 2nd. About 500,000 people will visit Yoshida Shrine during this event, especially the 2nd and 3rd are most popular with hundreds of kiosks for food and souvenirs are gathered.
Setsubun Festival at Yasaka Shrine – February 2nd to February 3rd
Yasaka Shrine’s Setsubun event reminds visitors that this shrine is located in the Gion Area, with four different Hanamachi districts (with establishments and businesses Geikos/Maikos (Geishas) work for) existing nearby. From 13:00 on 2nd, Geikos/Maikos from the Pontocho District will perform the traditional dance and scatter beans, from 15:00 on the same day, those from Miyagawacho District will do it. Furthermore, from 13:00 on 3rd, Geikos/Maikos from Gion Kobu District will perform, and from 15:00 on the same day, those from Gion Higashi District will do the same.
Kyoto Marathon – February 15th
Kyoto hosts an annual marathon in winter. The application and lottery processes are done for this year. For those who will be staying on this day, find sightseeing spots which are away from the marathon course, such as Toji Temple, Tofukuji Temple, Kyoto Tower, Kiyomizudera Temple and so on. For those who are lucky enough to be chosen, be sure to check this article for final training in Kyoto.
Plum Flower Ceremony at Kitano Tenmangu Shrine – February 25th
Kitano Tenmangu Shrine is famous for having a beautiful plum garden inside its premises. February 25th marks the anniversary of the death of Michizane Sugawara, who used to be a capable politician and scholar and was then enshrined as a deity of this shrine. To commemorate his death, Kitano Tenmangu Shrine holds a ceremony where visitors can spend a great time under the colorful plum blossoms that were loved by Michizane Sugawara. For those who are keen to join a tea ceremony (10:00 – 15:00), 1500 yen/person (first 3000 people). In addition, to go inside the plum garden, 600 yen is needed.
Looking for the best resource for your travel to Kyoto? Everything you need to know is in our Kyoto e-Guidebook.