As you may know, kawaii (cute) is an important aspect of modern Japanese culture.

Osaka’s Sheraton Miyako Hotel has changed even scary demons (鬼 oni) into very kawaii sweets and bread for a traditional seasonal event in February, Setsubun 節分.

The kanji 節分, means “to divide seasons” (kisetu wo wakeru 季節を分ける). Yes, as the kanji indicates, the event is related to the start of new season. On the Japanese lunar calendar, the first day of Spring (立春 risshun) usually falls on February 4th. People normally hold Setsubun-related festivities one day before risshun, so Setsubun events are generally held on February 3rd.

People want to welcome the new season without bad luck, so they scatter soybeans to drive out the 鬼 oni (demons) and misfortune.

Cute oni cakes

Osaka Sheraton Miyako Hotel sold cute red and yellow oni cakes last year too, but this year, they have added a green oni! Each cake is 569 JPY to go and 580 JPY for in-store dining. Both prices include tax. You will need a reservation by January 31st.

The red one is named Akaoni 赤鬼 (赤aka: red + 鬼 oni: demon). It stares at you angrily... But inside is sweet berry flavored mousse, mascarpone mousse and strawberry gelée. Don’t be scared!

Next is the yellow demon, Kioni 黄鬼 (黄 ki: yellow + 鬼 oni). Compared with Akaoni, it looks like it’s smiling! Behind the smile is mango flavored mousse and gelée, and mascarpone mousse.

The last green cake is Midorioni 緑鬼 (緑 midori: green + 鬼 oni)! Hmmm, it looks a little bit nervous. Maybe it’s because the green cake is a new flavor. This rookie is filled with pistachio flavored mousse and gelée, and mascarpone mousse.

A famous Japanese proverb becomes bread!

Have you ever heard of this Japanese proverb: "Giving a metal bat to a demon" (鬼に金棒 oni ni kanabō)? This refers to how giving a strong/talented person a strong weapon will make them invincible.

The hotel made really cute bread inspired by this proverb.

The chocolate-covered bread is a representation of a metal bat. The cute red bread demon is a strawberry flavored bread filled with strawberry chocolate.

This Kanabō pan (金棒パン metal bat bread) and Akaoni pan (赤鬼パン red demon bread) will cost 216 JPY to go and 220 JPY for in-store dining. Both prices incude tax.

Strawberry bread with a chocolate bat-shaped bread... Yes, this delicious combination is surely a good embodiment of the proverb.

Other special food: Ehō-maki sushi & Ehō-maki cake

Another Setsubun custom is eating giant sushi rolls called Ehō-maki (恵方巻: 恵方 ehō lucky direction + 巻 maki roll) like the ones you see below:

For the Ehō-maki, a reservation is required by February 2nd. You can reserve one at this website. 2,100 JPY/1 roll. (tax included).

If you have a sweet tooth, this new type of Ehō-maki, Ehō-maki Roll Cake might be your thing! You will need to make a reservation for this roll cake by January 31st.

Enjoy this year’s Setsubun with the cute demon-themed sweets, Ehō-maki sushi, and roll cake!


By - Mochijapa (Ayano Irizuki).