Deep Japan – Setsubun – Ehomaki culture

Article by EmiOnishi, originally published on Deep Japan

Ehomaki is eaten on the night of the winter equinox!

“Setsubun” is the day before the beginning of Spring in Japan and it’s on February 3rd every year. A long sushi roll is eaten on the night of Setsubun while facing toward the year’s “lucky” direction.

This custom originally started in the Kansai area. With your eyes closed, we wish for perfect health and praying for success of business. I remember this special family yearly event from when I was a kid.

We make ehomaki with seven ingredients; cucumber, shiitake mushrooms, seasoned baked egg, teriyaki eel, sweet fish flakes and kanpyo are rolled in seaweed representing the seven gods of happiness. By doing so, people hope to bring happiness into their lives.

Actually, ehomaki had long been eaten in the Kansai area but the reason why it spread throughout Japan was due to a sales-promotion by convenience stores! You’ll even find a variety of ehomaki at convenience stores these days on a regular basis, and during Setsubun serason, ehomaki are prepaired in a special style for Setsubun. People also eat roasted soy beans, one for each year of their age. Please enjoy the custom!


Deep Japan – Experienced Senpais living in and enjoying Japan offer inside-knowledge on how to make your trip real, interesting and above all, unforgettable.

Join the Deep Japan Senpai Team – Anyone currently living in Japan for a year or more who can write tips for visitors in English is welcome to register on Deep Japan as a writer.