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The beginning of the year in Japan

Beans for the Setsubun festival

February is still cold in Japan, but it changes to spring on the calendar. Risshun (立春) is the first day of spring in the 24 solar terms. For the year 2022, February 4th was the Risshun.

The day before Risshun is Setsubun(節分). Since ancient times, it has been believed that evil spirits arise at the turn of the seasons. For this reason, people would throw beans and stick sardine heads into holly branches to drive away the evil spirits on the day of Setsubun.

Throwing beans at the Setsubun festival

It's also customary to eat Eho-maki sushi rolls facing the direction that is said to be the best for the year. It's said you should eat the whole roll without cutting it with a knife, so that the good fortune will not be cut off and thus interrupted.

Also, if you talk while eating Eho-maki sushi roll, your luck will run away, so make sure you don't talk until you finish eating!

Eho-maki sushi roll

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