Spring arrived in Japan this week and many of its more traditional-minded citizens marked the occasion by taking part in bean-throwing ceremonies.
Crowd at Narita Shrine
Worshippers dressed in samurai dress
Head priest arrives
Sumo wrestlers throw beans to crow
Crowd reaches for beans
Asakusa Temple, Tokyo
Girls in kimonos
Girls in maxis
Devotees burning incense
Actresses throwing beans to crow
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Background: Spring arrived in Japan this week and many of its more traditional-minded citizens marked the occasion by taking part in bean-throwing ceremonies. As they see it, this will drive the devils from their homes.
At the Narita Shrine, 70 kilometres east of Tokyo, hundreds of people gathered around the temple to watch Sumo wrestlers and others dressed as Samurai warriors scourge the devils with a volley of beans.
Most of the people who took part were from the older generation. The younger people, now more under Western influences, do not care so much for the traditions of the past.
There was also a big turn-out at the Asakusa Temple in Tokyo with kimonos contrasting vividly with the maxis. As women burned incense, some of Japan's leading film stars showered the crowd with the beans. Catching a bean is supposed to bring prosperity and good luck.
The ceremony, which has its origins in China, has been going on for nearly 1,300 years.