February 3 is a special day in Japan, not technically a holiday, but special nonetheless. Setsubun (節分) coincides with the Chinese New Year. It has something to do with the beginning of Spring, but Nikko looked (and felt, as it was below freezing) anything but Springish when I took this photo during Setsubun 2010 at Rinnoji Temple.
This part of the ceremony had nothing to do with bean throwing. The shells some of the participants were blowing made the coolest sound. The beans were thrown later. Actually, beans were just handed out and prizes were thrown. We won a bunch of stuff, including a night at one of Nikko’s hotels including meals. Woohoo!