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Narita-san Shinshoji temple holds its Setsubun Bean-throwing Festival on Feb. 3. It was jam-packed on Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013.
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Most people came to see the celebrities throwing the beans for mamemaki. They included sumo wrestlers Yokozuna Hakuho, Ozeki Kisenosato, Baruto, and Okinoumi. Also Haruka Ayase, Ayame Goriki, Kotaro Koizumi and other stars of the current NHK Taiga Drama.
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The path to Shinshoji has sculptures of the oriental zodiac. 2013 is the year of the snake.
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People streaming to Shinshoji for the Setsubun bean throwing festival.
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From the train station, the main path to Narita-san is lined with shops and restaurants. The buildings look more traditional as you get closer to the temple.
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Gate to Shinshoji ahead.
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Shinshoji's Somon Gate. Naritasan Shinshoji temple belongs to the Shingon Sect of Buddhism. 総門
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After passing through Somon Gate, a flight of steps ahead.
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The steps lead to Niomon Gate.
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Passing through Niomon Gate.
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Niomon Gate.
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Normally, you can enter the temple up the steps straight from Niomon Gate, but it was blocked off and we had to use the steps on the right.
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Jam-packed since Feb. 3 fell on a Sunday this year in 2013.
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Finally in the central grounds of the temple. It was packed like a rush-hour Tokyo train.
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I arrived just before 11 am which was too late to get close to the bean throwers.
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The mamemaki bean-throwing ceremony was held three times. The first time was at 11 am. I was way too far away from the bean throwers.
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There's a ceremony first inside the temple.
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After the ceremony, the bean throwers came outside.
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Most of use didn't get any beans. It was the first time I didn't get any beans from a Setsubun festival.
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These are non-celebrities. They threw the beans for about a minute. Very short.
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After throwing the beans, they clapped their hands.
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After throwing beans the first session, the bean throwers started leaving. First the sumo wrrstlers, then the actresses/actors. Haruka Ayase is behind the wrestlers here.
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So much for the first bean-throwing ceremony. I was just too far away because I arrived late.
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Shinshoji's main hall is decorated with Buddhist colors and red and white.
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Since I came all the way out here, I decided to stay and see the second bean-throwing ceremony at 1:30 pm.
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Meanwhile, I joined many others to worship inside the temple's main hall.
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People streaming into the temple's main hall.
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People streaming into Narita-san Shinshoji temple's main hall.
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Inside the main hall, people pray and throw money. It must like this during New Year's too. Setsubun is actually like New Year's Eve.
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Already, hordes of people stand and wait for the second bean-throwing session 2 hours later.
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This is how close you have to be to the platform to get any beans.
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This side was more crowded because that's where the celebrities would throw beans. Press cameramen were also on this side.
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Names of the celebrity bean throwers.
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I stood and waited for about 90 min. until 1:30 pm. Glad I brought lunch (riceballs).
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In-between the bean-throwing sessions, they held a different ceremony, called "Kaiun mamemaki" (開運豆まき), inside the main hall. They paraded into the temple at around 12:30 pm.
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The people (no celebrities) participating in Kaiun mamemaki had a group photo taken. Anybody could join this by paying 10,000 yen.
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The ceremony inside the temple had sutra chanting while there was a fire started by a priest and used to heat the bean boxes given to the bean throwers. They threw beans at the altar, not to any people.
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We all patiently waited. But things happened so it made the time go by faster. Fortunately, the weather was good.
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Finally, the celebrity bean throwers arrived again and first posed for a group photo before going inside the temple for the ceremony.
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The sumo wrestlers always stand at the top.
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Baruto and Yokozuna Hakuho at Naritasan Shinshoji for Setsubun bean throwing on Feb. 3, 2013.
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Ozeki Kisenosato and Okinoumi at Naritasan.
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Actress Haruka Ayase is in the center of this shot.
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There she is at the center, actress Haruka Ayase who plays the title role of 2013's NHK Taiga Drama, "Yae no Sakura."
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Celebrity bean throwers wave as they enter the temple for the Setsubun ceremony.
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The ceremony was broadcast outside so we could hear it. There was some chanting and announcement of the names of the bean throwers.
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They also start a fire inside the temple to which they expose the bean boxes to be used by the bean throwers.
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They had this altar decoration with small branches from a tree in Tohoku. The bean throwing would also be about "throwing out hardship" in Tohoku. 特別追儺豆まき式
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After the ceremony which took about 20 min., they came out of the temple and took their places for bean throwing. This is Baruto.
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Actress Haruka Ayase comes out of the temple.
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Baruto and Haruka Ayase proceed to their places.
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At left is Ayame Goriki, another actress, comes out of the temple.
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Baruto at Naritasan Shinshoji for Setsubun on Feb. 3, 2013.
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Baruto and Yokozuna Hakuho.
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The crowd try desperately to get a shot of Haruka Ayase. I was shooting blind as I raised my camera in the air to shoot. Narita-san Shinshoji temple Setsubun bean throwing.
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Haruka Ayase posed for us for a while.
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Haruka Ayase is in the title role of Yae Niijima in this year's NHK Taiga Drama.
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"Yae no Sakura" is about a woman warrior named Yae Niijima (1845-1932) from Aizu-Wakamatsu, Fukushima Prefecture...Aizu-Wakamatsu is famous for Tsurugajo Castle and as the site of a Boshin War battle between pro-Emperor forces and pro-shogun forces who lost. Yae was on the latter side. After the war, she fought for equality for women and mastered English well enough to help with the English typesetting of Kyoto's earliest English guidebooks (written by her brother and translated into English by a translator).
Her husband Joseph Hardy Neesima or Jo Niijima had studied in the US and founded a Christian school which became the prestigious Doshisha University in Kyoto.
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Actress Haruka Ayase (left) throws beans at Naritasan Shinshoji temple on Feb. 3, 2013.
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Haruka Ayase throwing beans. It ended in less than 90 sec. Ridiculously short.
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L-R: Haruka Ayase, Kotaro Koizumi (son of former Prime Minister Jun'ichiro Koizumi), and Hidetoshi Nishijima at Naritasan Shinshoji Setsubun festival on Feb. 3, 2013.
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After throwing bean, they clap their hands.
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My Youtube video of Narita-san Setsubun bean-throwing on Feb. 3, 2013.
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They had men from a security company to control the crowds. Except for one or two people who felt ill, there was no major incident.
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The police and security people were most fearful of people falling like dominos. They kept shouting to not push forward. And to not pick up beans on the ground. I agree that it's dangerous to pick up beans on the ground.
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The crowds make their way into the main hall.
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Inside the main hall. The altar area is behind a glass wall. Photography was not allowed inside. Impressive altar where they have a Goma prayer fire ritual every day.
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Buy this 500-yen charm and 100 yen will be donated to the city of Rikuzen-Takada in Tohoku.
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Crowd dispersing.
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Bean-throwing platform.
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At around 3:30 pm, people started to gather for the day's third and final bean-throwing by ordinary folks.
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People line up for lucky beans.
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The press cameramen who were on this platform were all gone after the 2nd bean-throwing session.
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Office where you can apply to be a Kaiun mamemaki bean thrower for 10,000 yen.
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I was too tired to stick around for the last bean-throwing ceremony.
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There is a small space between the platform and crowd.
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Bean-throwing platform.
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Daruma dolls on a truck.
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Walking back to the train station.
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Poster for Setsubun in Feb. 2001. The following photos are from Feb. 3, 2001.
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Narita-san temple's main hall.
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Platform for bean throwers.
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Platform for bean throwers.
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Names of celebrity bean throwers in 2001. They include actresses Hikaru Nishida and sumo wrestlers Yokozuna Akebono, Musashimaru, Dejima, and Asashoryu.
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Group photo of bean throwers. Sumo wrestlers at the top.
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Narita-san Setsubun bean throwers. Sumo wrestlers, Nishida Hikaru, Makise Riho, etc.
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Hikaru Nishida at center in red for Naritasan Setsubun in Feb. 2001.
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Musashimaru gets his setsubun beans at Narita-san.
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Musashimaru throws setsubun beans at Narita-san
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Musashimaru and Dejima
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Actress Riho Makise throwing setsubun beans at Narita-san
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Cleanup.
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Bag of beans. I caught this from Dejima. They throw little bags of beans instead of individual beans. Bean bags are much easier to catch and to clean up afterward.
   
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