iN HAMAMATSU.COM | Culture | Yabusame (horseback archery)

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IN HAMAMATSU.COM Hamamatsu City, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan Visitor Guide

IN HAMAMATSU.COM Hamamatsu City, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan Visitor Guide Hamamatsu

Yabusame (horseback archery)

Experience the impressive Yabusame
and historical Japanese Shinto rituals.

Yabusame is the name for archery performed from a galloping horse and the Shinto Rituals (ceremony or festival to worship a god) before and after the shooting. It is believed that this has been done since before the Heian period (Year 794). After the 1500's, Buke (samurai) started to do Yabusame frequently, and various styles were created, but now the two most popular styles are Ogasawara and Takeda.


October 14 (Sun), 2018
Megawa-Hachimangu Reisai (Annual festival)
[Place] Megawa-Hachimangu: 1 Shinjo, Kosai-shi, Shizuoka
In Kosai city, on the west coast of Lake Hamana, you can see the Shinto Rituals of Yabusame in many places. Rituals, which are unique to each shrine, and have been gradually changed and molded by each area's historical landscape, resulting in what you'll find today. During the month of October, each weekend a different shrine will showcase their own individual Yabusame ritual.
Megawa-hachimangu Reisai is especially worth watching, featuring traditional rites and festivals, such as "Mikonoura"-- involving three girls in the role of shrine maidens, riding on horses to pray before the god. Another favorite is "Jyurenji"-a boy in Suikan (everyday garment worn by nobles in ancient Japan) who rides at full speed on the horse.

The list of the festivals which have Yabusame event in Kosai city
※All of the festivals are designated by the city as intangible folk cultural properties.

October 7 (Sun), 2018
Atsuta-Ichinomiya shrine Rei-taisai (regular rites and festivals)
[Place] Atsuta-Ichinomiya shrine: 1600 Yoshimi, Kosai-shi, Shizuoka
Not shooting an arrow at a mark by a bow, but hitting the mark by an arrow in hand. Visitors scramble to obtain this arrow as a protective charm against evils or pray for the well-being of one's family. (on the first Sunday of every October)

October 14 (Sun), 2018
Komi-hachiman shrine Rei-taisai (regular rites and festivals)
[Place] Komi-Hachiman shrine: 122 Komi, Kosai-shi, Shizuoka
The person throws the arrows in the hand to the three targets. Kinteki (shoot arrows to the very small golden target) is held in shrine precinct by the people who love Kyudo (Japanese archery). (on the second Sunday of every October)

October 14 (Sun), 2018
Ninomiya shrine Rei-taisai (regular rites and festivals)
The horse rider arrives on a boat from a dock in front of the shrine and purifies his body in Lake Hamana before hitting a mark with his bow and arrow. Yabusame starts after that, but visitors cannot take an arrow home. (on the second Sunday of every October)

October 21 (Sun), 2018
Hachiman-suwa shrine Rei-taisai (regular rites and festivals)
[Place] Hachiman-suwa shrine: 154-4 Washizu, Kosai-shi, Shizuoka
The rider races from point to point, stopping to hit a target at each spot. The arrow can be taken home by visitors who scramble to obtain it. (on the third Sunday of every October)

2019.10.7 update
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