Asakusa yabusame (horseback archery)
Sumida Park in Taito City
16 April 2016
Yabusame, the Japanese horseback archery, embodying the samurai spirit and shinto traditions, is performed at several places in Japan. In Tokyo, it used to be held at Asakusa Shrine during the Edo period, as a ritual to mark New Year. Today in Asakusa, the traditional art is demonstrated as a tourist event, yet in respect of its requirement and with much solemnity.
Yabusame takes place in the afternoon on a narrow strip of land on the bank of the Sumida River. It is utterly spectacular to see each archer on a horse, bursting into full gallop, fire three arrows at three wooden targets in succession. When hit, the target splits into two to emit white confetti in the air, to the delight of spectators.
If you come to the event, do not miss the less known, but quite interesting, “Kusajishi” in the morning. The archers demonstrate kata (forms) of kyudo (the Japanese archery), using a deer-shaped target made of leather. Both Kusajishi and Yabusame start with the procession of participants clad in colourful costumes.
Due to its popularity (with more than 20,000 expected visitors), the access to the area will be restricted depending on crowd congestion. Though the event is free, therefore, and in order to secure an observation spot, it is recommended to purchase an advance ticket (that comes with an “engi-mato” or auspicious target, plank used as the target, as well as small souvenirs). Remember to ask for a special ticket for “foreign visitor” that will entitle you to a better spot closer to the targets. A bilingual brochure (Japanese and English) is also available.
Place name Sumida Park in Taito City (in Japanese) 隅田公園 特設会場 Website go to website Phone 03-5246-1447 Taito City (Tourism Section) Dates 16 April 2016 Opening hours Kusajishi: 11 am –
Yabusame: 1 pm –
*Yabusame advance ticket: ￥3000 (with souvenirs)
Remarks *access will be restricted depending on crowd congestion
*selfie sticks not allowed
*special seats for foreigners are available (with advance tickets)
*cancellation in case of stormy weather
Address Taito-kuritsu Sumida Koen
1-1 Hanakawado, Taito-ku, Tokyo
- 10 min walk from Asakusa Station (Toei Asakusa Line)
* The above is the information known at the time of publication and subject to change without prior notice.