Setsubun (節分) is the day before the beginning of spring in Japan. It is customary in Kansai area to eat uncut makizushi called ehō-maki (恵方巻, lit “lucky direction roll”), a type of futomaki (太巻, “thick, large or fat rolls”), in silence on Setsubun while facing the year’s lucky compass direction, determined by the zodiac symbol of that year. This custom started in Osaka, but in recent years eho-maki can be purchased at stores in the Kanto area and it is getting more recognized as a part of Setsubun tradition. Charts are published and occasionally packaged with uncut makizushi during February.
Ehōmaki (恵方巻, “lucky direction roll”) is a roll composed of 7 ingredients considered to be lucky. The typical ingredients include kanpyō, egg, eel, and shiitake mushrooms. Ehōmaki often include other ingredients too.
ÆON Co., Ltd. (イオン株式会社 Ion Kabushiki-gaisha), commonly written AEON Co., Ltd., is the holding company of Æon Group. It operates all the AEON Retail Stores (formerly known as JUSCO supermarkets) directly in Japan. ÆON is Japan’s single-largest shopping mall developer and operator.