The Izu Peninsula’s natural beauty and plentiful hot springs make it one of the top vacation destinations for domestic tourists in Japan. While the scenery and hot springs have been around for a long time, getting here was nowhere near as easy as it is today.
Today is Setsubun in Japan. It is one of several very old traditions imported from Chinese culture and based on the lunar calendar.
In the West, spring is associated with the vernal equinox (March 21), and rituals in European countries generally take place in early April. In Japan, the beginning of February is seen as the start of a transition from winter to spring. It is a time when the seasonal responsibilities of numerous gods start to shift, and they get restless and move around. To prevent gods of bad luck from wandering into the house, people developed a protective ritual called mamemaki (mah-may-mah-kee) or bean sowing.