youtube Yabusame Videos

〜Discover YABUSAME〜
Yabusame at Kamakura Ground NO.2

Saturday, December 2, 2023 Gates open at 9:00 (Plan)

9:00 am Cultural exiibits (Noh, Kamakura-bori lacquerware, Kamakura -period food culture, armor, yabusame )
10:00 am Yabusame ritual
12:15 pm Kasagake demonstration, demonstration by armor-clad archers
12:45 pm Lecture on Noh, hand-led horse-rides for children, feed the horses
13:00 pm Meet-and greet with archers

* The schedule is tentative. Depending on the weather conditions some may be omitted.
(The Ritual will start at 10:00 , the horses will start to run around 10:40).

Access Map

Year 2023
Enjoy the Kasagake Ritual More Fully ( Concurrent program with Kasagake Ritual)

Sunday、October 15, 2023 Appearance of the horses to the riding ground around 13:00
9:30 Lecture on Kasagake ( ~10:30)
Joint Cultural Display of Kamo Kurabeuma and Kasagake(~16:00)
13:00 Kasagake Ritual
14:55 Special Talk on 930 years old Kamo Kurabeuma, a Rital at Kamigamo Shrine with horses.(~15:25)
15:00Feed the Kasagake participating horses.
15:45 Meet -and -Greet with archers (~16:00)

They are planned programs. Depending on the weather conditions, some may be cancelled.
To watch the performance, a 1000 yen fee is requested. Please come to the reception desk.
Due to limited number of seats, admission may be restricted if capacity is reached.

On the Project to Enhance Visitor Satisfaction at Yabusame and Kasagake Events, a FY 2023 Japan Cultural Expo 2.0 Project(Commission type)

The Project to Enhance Visitor Satisfaction at Yabusame and Kasagake Events of Japan Equestrian Archery Association has being adopted as a FY 2023 Japan Cultural Expo 2.0 Project(Commission type).

Japan Cultural Expo Projects of Japan Equestrian Archery Association

FY 2023

Adoption plan: Japan Cultural Expo 2.0 Project (Commission type)
Name of Project:Project to Enhance Visitor Satisfaction at Yabusame and Kasagake Events
Sponsors: Ministry of Culture, Japan Arts Council and Japan Equestrian Archery Association
Yabusame Kamakura Ground, Japan Equestrian Archery Association (Kamakura-shi, Kanagawa)
Kamigamo Shrine (Kyoto-shi, Kyoto)
Date and Hours: Kamakura Yabusame Ground
Sunday, July 16, 2023 10:00 am ~
Saturday, December 2, 2023 10:00 am~ (tentative plan)
Seats will be offered to guests who donate \1,000.
( estimation of 300 seats)

Kamigamo Shrine
Sunday, October 15, 2023 13:00~ (tentative plan)
Paid Seats

Information on Kasagake Ritual at Kamigamo-jinja, the Year 2022 Project of Japan Culture Expo

The event is sponsored by the Ministry of Culture, Japan Arts Council and Japan Equestrian Archery Association with the collaboration of Kamigamo-jinja.

Venue: Kamigamo-jinja Shrine, Kyoto
Date and Hours: Sunday, October 16 from 13:00 to 15:00 with live transmission
The URL is

Kasagake Ritual, a project of Japan Cultural Expo of FY 2022 (1 minute)

Kasagake Ritual, a project of Japan Cultural Expo of FY 2022 (5 minutes)

Other programs:
9:30~ Lecture on Kasagake and visit to the riding course (no need to apply, just come to the spot)
15:30~ Meeting with the archers (no need to apply, just come to the spot)
Depending on the progress of the programs, there may be some changes in the time schedule.
The announcement will be given both in Japanese and English to propagate the enchantment of Kasagake in Japan as well as abroad.
Interesting points will be made into a DVD and presented here.

Kasagake is one of the three traditional styles of shooting arrows while riding which is functional and requires more skill. Kasagake of Kamigamo-jinja has the history that 800 years ago, Gotoba jyoko performed Kasagake at the Shrine. Kasagake Ritual is an important traditional culture being the only one in Japan.

→ A scene from Kasageka Practice

The URL is

On YABUSAME WEBINAR held on  Sunday, May 15, 2022

A yabusame archer from the Takeda School who is supported by the Japan Equestrian Archery Association presented at a webinar on yabusame for EngageAsia. EngageAsis is a U.S.-based NPO that introduces Asian culture to school teachers and educators in the United States. The webinar recording is here: . This webinar is great for beginners as it provides an easy to understand introduction to yabusame. We hope you will watch it.

On Yabusame

Yabusame is a traditional Japanese archery performed while riding a horse in dedication to the deities and praying for universal peace, a rich harvest and people’s health. The method has been established 800 years ago and is maintained and practiced mainly by the Takeda School of Horseback Archery and Ogasawara School.

Yabusame is a sacred ritual where the archers shoot at three targets to their left from galloping horses. They do not just compete over their martial skills but as they shoot arrows in prayer, it is regarded as of a highly spiritual nature.

Shooting arrows from a galloping horse is called kisha or umayumi. There are three forms of kisha namely yabusame, kasagake, and inu-ou-mono. Among these, yabusame is regarded as special for being a sacred ritual.


Yabusame Riding Course

Highlights of Yabusame

The length of the yabusame riding course and distance between targets remain unchanged from the Kamakura period. However, many of the horses used in the ritual today are of western breeds and are bigger in size and run faster. Therefore it is very hard to hit the targets as the archers only have a few seconds to nock the arrow before reaching the next target. The difficulty of yabusame may be higher today.

The archers in yabusame are called ite, and only those who have undergone strict training can become one.

The ite have mastered the exceptional technique, only existing in Japan, called tachisukashi. Tachisukashi is a form of riding without pressing the horse’s body with the legs and without resting the body on the saddle, keeping the hips away from the saddle by one sheet of paper distance, which is very difficult to master. By this riding style, the body of the ite maintains a stable posture without the up and down movements of the upper body enabling the ite to aim accurately at the targets from the galloping horses.

When you watch a yabusame performance, please feel its dynamic power together with ite’s high shooting technique and refined riding posture.


The Costume of Ite, the Horseback Archers in Yabusame and the Harness

The ite who participate in the yabusame ritual wear hats called kimen ayahigasa, and put on either garment called hitatare or suou. They wear igote on their left shoulder which has the archer’s family crest embroidered in golden thread. Their hips are covered with mukabaki made of summer deerskin. On their waist, the archers wear a tachi, a long sword, and a short sword called maezashi or yoroi doshi and wear gloves, tabi, and foot wear called igutsu. They hold in their hands a bow called shigeto and carry arrows called jindoya inserted at their waist. Metal arrowheads are not used because bloodshed is considered taboo in Shinto rituals.

The saddles used in yabusame are called wagura and waabumi is the name for the stirrups. They are typically Japanese. The manufacturing technique for both of them are no longer available and therefore antique pieces are repaired and used carefully.

The wagura are made of wood and consist of parts such as maewa (pommel) or the arched front plate, shizuwa (cantle) or the arched real plate, igi or the contoured sidebands, and shiode the tie-downs attached to the base of a saddle. The waabumi are made of iron and are rather big as to cover the foot. They are also called zetsuabumi or tongue stirrups as they resemble the shape of a tongue. These stirrups are big and heavy and therefore have stability enabling ite to ride the tachisukashi style


The Costume of Ite

Origin of Yabusame

It is said that the origin of yabusame goes back to the 6th century when Emperor Kinmei ordered to shoot three arrows on horseback called yabasame at Usa , present-day Usa Jingu shrine in Oita Prefecture.

In the Heian Era, Emperor Uda ordered Minamoto no Yoshiari, a master in horseback archery, to fix the ”Rules and Etiquette of Horseback Archery”. These were later passed down through generations of the Minamoto clan, and then to the Takeda and Ogasawara families, who were descendants of Shinra Saburo Yoshimitsu.

Minamoto no Yoritomo (1147-1199) founder of the Kamakura shogunate sought instruction from Saigyo Hoshi, an expert on yabusame, and held a yabusame ritual in 1187 to commemorate the restoration of peace. He also summoned experts on horseback archery to discuss manners and fix yabusame proceedures and contributed to the flourishing of yabusame.

With the arrival of a turbulent age of warfare yabusame faded from the historical limelight for a time. But in spite of all the rises and falls of different regimes, the teachings have been handed down through the generations and continue to this day.


Shooting Methods of Kisha

There are many forms of shooting in kisha, however the following three forms are mainly used in presentations.


This is the style of shooting directly to the left. In yabusame the archer shoots three arrows consecutively directly to the left.



This is the style of shooting at the targets placed on the left side ground level. This style is used in kasagake.



This is the style of shooting at the targets placed on the right side ground level and is used in kasagake. This is a very difficult technique as the archer with his bow on his left hand must widely twist his body and shift the bow over the horse’s neck to the right side and aim.


* What is kasagake

Kasagake was widely practiced in the Heian and Kamakura periods. The Azuma Kagami, compiled in the Kamakura period, records that Minamoto no Yoritomo and his son Yoriie both enjoyed kasagake with their vassals.

In those days, the samurai were well protected with heavy armor, making it difficult to inflict fatal wounds. Therefore, to defeat an opponent in a single shot, they aimed at the only vulnerable part of the armor、the face. If an opponent looked up or turned his face around, for example, a samurai versed in horseback archery would seize the opportunity and shoot a kill shot into the face. Kasagake was a way to train those skills. Important samurai such as Taira no Masakado, Kiso Yoshinaka and Nitta Yoshisada all died in battle due to arrow wounds to their faces.

* Kasagake Performance

In yabusame, the archer rides the horse in one direction and shoots the arrows at three targets placed on the left side, while in kasagake, the archer rides the horse and shoots while he goes and returns. The targets to aim at on the going are surrounded by bamboo picket fence on both sides, giving the archer only one chance of hitting the target when the archer is on straight angle with the target. The shooting on the return is called ko-kasagake and the targets are smaller and are placed at the right and left sides near the horse’s foot which requires very high shooting skill.


Yabusame Ritual Procedure

Shutsujin (taking to the field):
With the sound of the Gathering Drum the participants assemble and start the march in order.

Kaburaya hoken (dedication of the turnip-headed arrow), ganmon sojo (prayer recitation)
The participants enter the warship hall. Then bugyo or the magistrate presents to the deity a turnip-headed arrow called kaburaya with a metal tip.

Meigen no gi (ritual of sounding the bowstring)
This is a ceremony to drive away evil spirits by sounding the bowstring. This ritual is said to date back to the eleventh century when Minamoto no Yoshiie, a renowned archer, cleared the emperor of his disease by sounding the string on his bow three times.

Tencho chikyu no shiki (ritual to pray for prevailing peace in heaven and on earth)
The rider nominated by the magistrate rides forth to the center and performs gogyo no joho, riding in a circle three times to the left and twice to the right, then draws the bow like the full moon and aiming toward the sky and toward the ground, he prays for universal peace, a rich harvest, and people’s health.

Kogun (procession)
The participants march in formation to the riding ground to the beat of the Marching Drum.

Subase (test run)
The bugyo ascends to the recording station, and the shoyaku take their places as well. When all is ready, the bugyo beats the drum to start the subase, and the archers ride their horses at full gallop through the course without shooting their arrows.

Housha (votive shooting)
Archers are divided, usually into two groups, and they race down the course while quickly fixing each arrow to the bow and shooting successively, starting with the first target. Each group repeats the performance twice.

Kyosha (competitive shooting)
Those who achieved the top results move on to kyosha, or competitive archery.
The targets are changed to small ceramic targets. The target shatters when an arrow hits the mark, sending the confetti flying like snowflakes. The kyosha stage determines which archer achieves the most hits.

Gaijin no shiki (victory ceremony)
The sound of the Ending Drum concludes the kyosha. The archer who made the most hits advances to the center with a target in hand and kneels down. Either the bugyo or the inspector unfolds his fan and observes the target from between the slits. The taikokata beats the Battle Drum three time and the participants respond with a shout of victory. This ritual is also a metaphor for inspecting the exterminated evil spirits.

Naorai (sipping of sacred sake)
The gaijin no shiki is followed by naorai, in which the participants sip sacred sake. Finally, the participants withdraw, marking the end of all ritual proceedings.

tenchochikyunoshikiTencho chikyu no shiki


Yabusame is performed with the help of staff known as shoyaku, who assist with the proceedings in various roles. The shoyaku wear attire called hitatare and serve in six different roles: taikokata, hatamochi, ogikata, matometsuke, heifuri, and yatori.

The taikokata beats the drum as a signal at key moments throughout the ritual.
The hatamochi are flagbearers who lead the procession with red and white flags.
The ogikata wave their fans to signal the start of the horse’s run.
The matometsuke are responsible for judging target hits.
The heifuri signal that a hit has been made by waving their wands, called hei.
The yatori pick up the discharged arrows and return them to the archer.

As seen, there are different roles for shoyaku, and are indispensable for yabusame to be performed. It is an honor to be selected as shoyaku that supports the yabusame.

shoyakuShoyaku in procession

Yabusame Videos

The Japan Equestrian Archery Association is adopted as a FY 2023 Japan Cultural Expo 2.0 Project.

The Japan Equestrian Archery Association, Japan Arts Council,  and the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan will present Yabusame Ritual at Yabusame Kamakura Ground to pray for peace. a rich harvest, and people’s health, as well as to wish for the promotion and development of various cultural traditions that live on in the city of Kamakura and for the preservation of yabusame and other forms of Japanese horseback archery.
This yabusame will be live streamed so as to transmit the allure of yabusame to those who cannot come to the event. Also, as to facilitate foreigners to watch yabusame, there will be live commentary and reference materials in English.
(The Yabusame Ritual will start at 10:00 am.The horses will start to run around 10:50.)

Information on Kasagake Ritual at Kamigamo-jinja, the Year 2022 Project of Japan Culture Expo

日本博主催・共催型プロジェクト 上賀茂神社笠懸神事

The event is sponsored by the Ministry of Culture, Japan Arts Council and Japan Equestrian Archery Association with the collaboration of Kamigamo-jinja.


Venue: Kamigamo-jinja Shrine, Kyoto
Date and Hours: Sunday, October 16 from 13:00 to 15:00 with live transmission
The URL is

On July 17th 2021, “ Ceremony to Wish for the Safe Holding and Success of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games “ took place at Meiji Jingu shrine.
This was a special yabusame ceremony conducted to wish for the safe holding and success of the Games. The ceremony took around 2 hours from the beginning to the end. Therefore, 6 minutes and 1 minute documentary videos were made, focusing on the main points and interesting scenes as the ceremony proceeded. 

令和3年7月17日(土)に行った「東京2020オリンピック・パラリンピック競技大会 安全祈願奉納流鏑馬」の主要なポイントを押さえ、流鏑馬の流れや見所なども加えて6分版と1分版の記録映像を制作しました。是非ご覧ください。

・東京2020オリンピック・パラリンピック競技大会 安全祈願奉納流鏑馬(日本語 Japanese・6分)

・東京2020オリンピック・パラリンピック競技大会 安全祈願奉納流鏑馬(日本語 Japanese・1分)

・Yabusame Ceremony to Wish for the Safe Holding of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games(English 6 min.)

・Yabusame Ceremony to Wish for the Safe Holding of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games(English 1min.)

Yabusame Ceremony to Wish for the Safe Holding and Success of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games【Saturday 17 July 2021  17:00~】
東京2020オリンピック・パラリンピック競技大会 安全祈願奉納流鏑馬【令和3年7月17日(土)午後5時00分から午後7時30分~】

Due to the Covid -19 prevention, the performance is closed to the public.
Please watch the live broadcasting,



‘Yabusame Praying for World Peace and People’s Health’
a Japan Cultural Expo Project Presented and Co-presented for year 2020 .
November 29th, 2020

#1 Horseback Archery
Presentation of the dynamic performance of horseback archery, of the horseback archers’ skill and history of yabusame and others.

#2 Costumes and Equipment
Presentation of archers’ costumes, harness and archery equipment in yabusame.

#3 Sacred Ritual
Presentation of each ceremony of yabusame and of shoyaku, those who assist the yabusame performance.

Yabusame Videos