Every year, Japan celebrates Setsubun (節分, "seasonal division") on Feb 2nd, 3rd, or 4th, one day before the start of Spring according to the Japanese lunar calendar. The festival’s purpose is to chase demons out of one’s home before Spring arrives. After the 2020 we’ve had, there’s certainly a lot of demons to be chased away in 2021!

Setsubun is traditionally celebrated in two ways. One is gobbling up an Ehō-maki 恵方巻 sushi roll while facing the year’s lucky direction, without talking. The second way is lobbing roasted beans around homes, and temples across Japan, while yelling “Oni wa soto, Fuku wa uchi! (Demon’s out, Happiness in).

In 2021 however, instead of expelling demons, one Japanese hotel is giving customers the opportunity to eat them. Unlike the grotesque Oni (“ogre”) from Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, these monsters are a lot easier on the eye and stomach. Find out why below!

Sheraton Miyako Hotel’s Setsubun Sweets

Osaka’s Sheraton Miyako Hotel is serving a selection of delightful goblin cakes, as well as a sweet Ehō-maki fruit roll in their Belle Cafe from February 1st - February 3rd.

Goblin Cakes

Price: ¥520 (excluding tax) per cake

The goblin cakes come in 3 adorable forms and flavors: a berry-flavored red goblin, a black currant flavored purple goblin and new for 2021, a mango-flavored yellow goblin. Inside is lashings of mascarpone mouse! Available for a mere 3 days, don’t miss out on the chance to gobble up these cute cake creatures.

Ehō-maki Fruit Roll Cake [RESERVATIONS REQUIRED]

Price: ¥1200 (excluding tax) per 16.5 cm roll

A sweet version of the traditional savory Eho-maki, this roll packing seven kinds of fruit, fresh cream, custard into a sponge cake which is coated in chocolate. The use of seven fruits is in keeping with traditions surrounding Eho-maki which usually contains seven ingredients to represent the seven Japanese gods of fortune, or 七福神 Shichifukujin.

Customers hoping to enjoy this decadent dessert must reserve it by February 2nd at the latest. Reservations made earlier can collect from February 1st at the earliest. For reservation inquiries, see the details below:

  • Sales period: Feb 1st (Monday) to 3rd (Wednesday), 2021
  • Store name: Cafe & Gourmet Shop Cafe Bell, Mezzanine Floor
  • Sales time: 10: 00-19: 00
  • Telephone: 06-6773-5582
  • Website
    • Goblin Club Cookies

      Price: ¥600 (excluding tax) per pack

      These vanilla and chocolate flavored cookie clubs are perfect to enjoy with a goblin cake. They may even make an amusing spoon with which to scoop out the creamy goodness within the goblins, for those without a cake fork.

      Uemachi Ehō-maki [RESERVATIONS REQUIRED]

      Price: ¥1800 (excluding tax) per roll

      This Ehō-maki roll is the real deal. Crafted by the Sheraton’s Ehō-maki masters, the roll contains seven ingredients including egg, eel, shrimp, and vegetables, wrapped in rice and seaweed. For readers seeking to enjoy a truly traditional Setsubun, this maki-roll is a must-have main course before enjoying the Setsubun sweets.

      The roll is available from the Japanese restaurant Uemachi, but the hotel is only selling 300! Reservations must be made by February 2nd and collection is limited to the day of Setsubun this year, February 3rd. Full details below:

      • Sales period: Feb 3rd, 2021
      • Store name: Japanese Restaurant Uemachi
      • Sales time: 11:30 - 14:00 / 15:00 - 19:00
      • Telephone:06-6773-1253
      • Website: https://www.miyakohotels.ne.jp/osaka/restaurant/list/uemachi/index.html

        • With these delicious Setsubun sweets available, this year’s traditional cry should be updated “Devils out, happiness in” to “Devil’s in (our stomachs), Happiness in”.

By - Toby M.