What is Setsubun and how to eat Ehomaki Fortune rolls?

by Best-Japanese Team
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Setsubun Ehomaki

👹It’s Setsubun! This is the traditional end of winter and start of spring in Japan. Setsubun (節分) has a Halloween-like aspect because some believe devils appear when the seasons change. But we can fight these Oni devils by throwing roasted soybeans at them! The hard beans, together with some chanting, drive them away.

In many pre-schools across Japan today, children will have had a good time chasing away teachers and parents (often dads) dressing up as “Oni” with the beans 👺While throwing the beans you should shout “Oni ha soto! Fuku wa uchi!” which means “Out with the devil and in with the good fortune”.

The more recent tradition of eating Eho-Maki (Fortune rolls) is said to have originated in Kansai. These thick sushi rolls are now found all over the world and are firmly established as a Setsubun food. There is a certain way to eat Ehomaki to receive your fortune:

  1. First, face the lucky direction (Eho) of the year (in 2022 it is north-northwest.)
  2. Second, make a wish without saying a single word.
  3. Finally, eat the whole roll in one go, so you don’t “cut” off your luck (um yep cut one for Insta purposes).


This year we ordered our Ehomaki from @atariya.westacton. Their regular Ehomaki included some gorgeous salmon, tuna and ikura (salmon roe). Meanwhile, their Seafood Ehomaki had tobiko (flying fish roe), unagi (eel) and egg. It was a fantastic way to celebrate Setsubun! Also, big thank you to the Atariya staff for wrapping the Ehomaki up for the bike ride home🙏

We are looking forward to saying goodbye to winter and welcoming in Spring and all the good energy.

If you are searching for more Japanese supermarkets for your Japanese recipes, please check out our Japanese supermarket list here.

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The Best Japanese Team is a community of friends and family living in the UK and Japan. Our main goal is to share accurate knowledge on Japanese food, culture, lifestyle, and travel. We also wish to support Japanese inspired creators and businesses across the world. As we grow we welcome contributions from like-minded invididuals so if this sounds like you please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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