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[1-Day Event: Sat. Feb. 3] Join Onomichi’s Biggest Mamemaki (Bean-Throwing)

[1-Day Event: Sat. Feb. 3] Join Onomichi’s Biggest Mamemaki (Bean-Throwing)

The most famous temple in Onomichi is Senkoji Temple, famous for its cherry blossoms. But Saikokuji Temple is the most famous for its mamemaki (lucky bean-throwing) ritual.

(Source: https://www.ononavi.jp/onomichiya/)

Every February 3, the day before the spring equinox, Setsubun is held (an event to drive away evil spirits by throwing beans).

Due to the belief that evil spirits and demons tend to enter when seasons change, the ritual started as a way to keep them away.

Toshi-otoko and toshi-onna will come up to the stage to throw beans and rice cakes. (Toshi-otoko and toshi-onna are men and women who were born under the Chinese zodiac sign that is currently being celebrated [in 2024, they are people born in the dragon].)

Saikoku-ji Temple’s mamemaki is the largest in Onomichi.

It is more than just scattering lucky beans, of which there will be 10,000 bags: there will also be 3,000 red and white rice cakes and sweets prepared.

(Source: https://www.ononavi.jp/onomichiya/)

Inside the bags of beans, there are lots called daifuku (great fortune), chufuku (medium fortune), and kofuku (small fortune). Many people participate in the event in the hopes of winning one. The reason why people look forward to the lots so much is that they include vouchers that you can exchange for money: one daifuku for 50,000 yen, 10 chufuku for 5,000 yen, and 30 kofuku for 1,000 yen. Others include vouchers for Onomichi specialties like kamaboko (steamed fish cakes from a store called Keima).

(Source: https://www.ononavi.jp/onomichiya/)

The ceremony takes place in the Kondo Hall, which is designated as an important cultural asset, where goma (small wooden prayer sticks) are burned and monks read sutras.

(Source: https://www.ononavi.jp/onomichiya/)

After the recitation of the sutra, the worshippers turn very large prayer beads while chanting the Nembutsu (a Buddhist prayer).

(Source: https://www.ononavi.jp/onomichiya/)

Then, the mamemaki (also known as the gift of the Ofuku [designated bean thrower]) begins when the priests recite, “Out with evil, in with fortune.”

Date & Time: Saturday, February 3, 2024
11:00 a.m.—Three-tier goma service
11.30 a.m.—Mamemaki

Location: Saikokuji Temple



Born in Yokohama, and spent most of my school days in Tokyo.
Exchange student experience in the USA (in high school) and Thailand (after graduating from university).
Speak English, Thai and Japanese (of course).
Living in a tranquil island of the Shimanami Kaido.
”I would love to show you around this beautiful area of Setouchi! ”