Photo: Setsubun fire, Yoshida Shrine, Kyoto, February 3rd, 2014.
We’ve just heard that, for the first time since the Muromachi Period (1336-1573), there will be no purification fire to conclude this year’s Setsubun celebrations at Yoshida Shrine, Kyoto. Kyoto City has imposed further requirements for the disposal of the ash from the fire, and the shrine is unable to comply due to manpower and financial difficulties. More information is available in Japanese here.
This is an enormous loss to the cultural and spiritual life of Kyoto City and we hope that a solution will be found as soon as possible.