Get rid of evil spirits here
If you want to trace the origins of all this legume-throwing, this is where to start: Sensoji was the first place in Japan to hold a large-scale Setsubun ceremony, bringing mass-market appeal to a ritual that had been practised since the Heian era. Around 10,000 people turn up each year to watch celebrities lob handfuls of soybeans in the afternoon. From 2.30pm
One of the more bizarre spectacles you’ll see on Setsubun takes place in the morning on the 150m-high observatory deck of Tokyo’s cherished orange-and-white mast. Here, a priest from neighbouring Zojoji is joined by the tower’s cone-headed Noppon mascots in a quick spot of bean-throwing. From 10.45am
While many of Tokyo’s shrines and temples let members of the public take part in the bean-throwing, Suitengu is one of the few that doesn’t overcharge you for the privilege (¥5,000 for adults, ¥2,000 for children). The ceremonies are interspersed with performances of traditional kagura dance and kamishibai storytelling. From 2.30pm
Zojoji's bean-throwing festival sees a colourful bunch of celebrities born in the ongoing year of the Chinese zodiac fling soy beans over the assembled masses. Head over to ensure good health and fortune for the year to come, and take the opportunity to pick up a new omamori charm at the temple stalls. From 12.20pm
Shimokitazawa is home to one of Tokyo’s most novel local variations on Setsubun. There’ll be plenty of bean-throwing going on, but that isn’t the highlight of this festival. Rather, it’s the afternoon parade, in which a giant, bright red tengu head is carried through the streets, accompanied by children in goblin masks. This event takes already place on February 2 from 1.30pm
Priests in traditional dress emerge from the shrine's ceremonial hall at around 2pm, followed by a bunch of bean-throwers all born in previous Years of the Pig (the Chinese zodiac animal for 2019). Finally, the red-and blue-faced demons charge onto the scene. From 2pm
Seeing around 10,000 visitors for Setsubun every year, Honmonji is famed for welcoming athletes (from pro wrestlers to golfers) to take care of the bean-throwing. Things get underway at 1pm, but the actual bean-throwing ceremony doesn't start until 3pm.
Always a popular one with tourists, Hie Shrine's ceremony is a real spectacle, from the kagura performances to the entrance parade of the bean-throwers (another chance to spot various celebrities) and the open lottery featuring all kinds of fun prizes. From 11.30am
Although the actual bean-throwing at Yoyogi's main shrine is nothing out of the ordinary, the mochi-bashing on February 1, put on by the Yoyogi Mochitsuki Preservation Society, makes this one worth a look. Bean-throwing from 3.30pm on February 3.
Another Setsubun event where the beans are of secondary importance, Nakano temple Hosenji's ceremony is best known for the 'fighting monk' parade, in which 100 men dress up as feudal-era sohei and march along the Ome Kaido from nearby Meitoku Inari Shrine to Hosenji. The parade gets moving from 3.30pm, while beans are thrown from 4.30pm.