A few nights ago, I went to the Setsubun Matsuri at Yoshida-jinja. Setsubun is the old lunar New Year that roughly corresponds to the Chinese New Year. People bring their old amulets and charms from the previous year and the shrine burns them in a giant bonfire.
Here is the mountain of amulets and charms ready to be set alight:
Mountain of Mamori © Chris Rowthorn
Here is a close-up of the amulets and charms:
Closeup of Amulets © Chris Rowthorn
Here’s the fire:
The Fire © Chris Rowthorn
Kyoto Vacation Checklist
- For all the essentials in a brief overview, see my First Time In Kyoto guide
- Check Kyoto accommodation availability on Booking.com - usually you can reserve a room with no upfront payment. Pay when you check out. Free cancellations too.
- Need tips on where to stay? See my one page guide Where To Stay In Kyoto
- See my comprehensive Packing List For Japan
- Buy a data-only SIM card online for collection when you arrive at Kansai International Airport (for Osaka and Kyoto) or Tokyo's Narita Airport. Or rent an unlimited data pocket wifi router.
- Compare Japan flight prices and timings to find the best deals
- If you're visiting more than one city, save a ton of money with a Japan Rail Pass - here's my explanation of why it's worth it
- A prepaid Icoca card makes travelling around Kyoto easy - here's how.
- Get travel insurance for Japan - we recommend World Nomads (and here's why)