Asakusa yabusame (horseback archery) 2017
15 April 2017
Sumida Park, Taito City
(Photos: courtesy of Taito City)
Yabusame is Japanese horseback archery, which embodies the samurai spirit and shinto traditions. In Tokyo, it used to be held at Asakusa Shrine during the Edo period, as a ritual to mark New Year.
Today the traditional art is demonstrated as a tourist event, yet in full respect of its requirement. 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.
Prior to Yabusame, a less known, but quite interesting traditional art, “Kusajishi” will be performed. 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), access to the area will be restricted for security reasons. Purchase an advance ticket (coming with souvenirs) to secure your seat. Special seats closer to the first target will be offered to “foreign visitors”. Lucky, if you are from overseas! Ask your Japanese friend to obtain one for you (see Japanese post).
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