The Japan Equestrian Archery Association has presented yabusame performance to foreign dignitaries, including several Presidents of the United States of America. The Association also has experiences going abroad for performance such as to Bahrain in December 2002 and to Oman in January 2006. The photos are of April 24, 2014 when President Barack Obama of the United States visited Meiji Jingu shrine to see yabusame during his state visit.
Yabusame Events of 2019
Kawasaki Racecourse Yabusame Kishashiki
January 3 (Thursday)
Being the first performance of the new year, the participation draws renewed enthusiasm at Kawasaki Racecourse. The horses are in high spirits at the spacious course. The horse is Shugetsu.
In the huge racecourse all spectators’ eyes are tuned upon ite (archers on horseback) and horses in procession from all angles, making them tense.
The pack horse driver keeps an eye while the horse is harnessed by ite (archer on horseback). The pack horse drivers always take good care of the horses. The horse is Renge.
Yabusame Ritual Odawara Plum Festival February 11 (Monday) Soga, Odawara-shi
Practice scene. At the event sight, depending on the year, the plum flowers are at full bloom.
Subase. Before the votive shooting, the archer runs the horse at full speed without the shooting. The horse is Renge.
Kyosha. The top scored archers aim at the small clay target. To differentiate votive shooting which is a ritual from kyosha of a competitive aspect, in kyosha, the devil’s mask is taken off. The horse is Omodaka.
Kamakura Festival Yabusame Ritual April 21 (Sunday) Tsurugaoka Hachimangu, Kamakura
Yabusame is performed as the finale of the Kamakura Festival. Rituals like Kaburaya hoken (dedication of the arrow) and Ganmon sojo (reciting of world peace, good harvest and people’s health) take place at Maiden of Tsurugaoka Hachimangu.
The procession marches the riding course with the shoyaku (staff) at the head, followed by bugyo ( magistrate), ite (archers on foot), sobugyo ( controller of magistrates) and archers on horseback.
Hosha. The archers are divided into two groups and aim at shiki no mato (target with five colored circles ) and ita mato (wooden target) placed at three points of the riding course. The horse is Renge.
The lecture on Yabusame is also held annually for students living in the city. Children who were scared of touching horses gradually beamed with joy.
The horse is Tenzan.
Fuji Omuro Sengen Jinja Yabusame Ritual April 29 (Monday) FujiKawaguchiko-machi, Yamanashi Prefecture
The archers line up in front of the Satomiyasha. In the meantime the archers give a last check of their outfit.
After the ritual, the procession with the priest at the head moves to Shikkogo Park where the riding course is set up.
Hosha. As the riding course is short the targets are two. The horse is Kurokumo.
Kyosha. After hitting the first target, the archer moves to the second target while he pulls out an arrow from his waist. The horse is Michinosuke.
In returning to the starting base, the archer performs the kataabumi no rei, by taking off a foot from the stirrup to show reverence.
Yabusame Ritual to Honor the Accession to the Throne of the New Emperor
May 1 ( Wednesday ) Meiji Jingu
May 1st was the beginning of Reiwa Era. A scene of the yasbusame ritual inside the shrine building for the celebration.
Yabusame starts with the beat of ha no taiko and ends with tome no taiko. The drum also sounds when a target is hit.
Kyosha. The confetti flies out from the inside when the small clay target breaks making the spectators’ shouts of joy even lauder. The horse is Heian.
The cultural exchange session certified by the ‘Tokyo 2020 Supporting Program’ and’ beyond 2020’ program with the archers. The event is well received as the archers can give variable information.
‘Children ‘s Day with Horses’ of Equine Cultural Affairs Foundation May 5 (Sunday)
Negishi, Nakaku, Yokohama
Many children attend this event. The riding course is short so only one target is set up. You can watch yabusame and kasagake. The horse is Suisei.
The exhibition of different styles takes place only in these events. The photo shows Oshimojiri style.
Miura Dosun Festival Kasagake May 26 (Sunday) Koajiro Misakicho Miura-shi.
In the morning, a memorial service takes place for Dosun Miura and his clan who perished here.
Yashiroburi. The ceremony determines the order of participation by drawing the gathered arrows. The archers await tense until his/her arrow is drawn.
Kasagake starts here at the arched shaped beach. Yundeyoko style on the going. The horse is Genta Ubuginu.
The archer aims at the target at lower left side.Yundesugai style on his retun.
In Kasagake, the archer wears eboshi instead of igasa. The horse is Hikazu.
Gaijin no shiki ceremony. The magistrate inspects the target held by the best scored archer in front of him, through the slits of the unfolded fan.
The photo session sponsored by the executive committee after the performance. You can take photos with the horses and archers having the sea at the back. (Fee required)
Mishima Taisha Yabusame Ritual August 17 (Saturday) Mishima Taisha
Yabusame during the annual festival of Mishima Taisha in August. The ritual is solemnly held at the main shrine building.
The horses and archers march the riding course. Priests of Mishima Taisha also participate as archers.
The archer aims at the second target. (Priest of Mishima Taisha.) The horse is Sumire.
After the shooting the archers get their arrows back from the staff on the return from the finishing base to the starting base.
Samukawa Jinjya Yabusame Ritual September 19 (Thursday) Samukawa Jinjya
Marai no gi is the ceremony to purify the horses’ legs before the ritual.
The archers proceed to the riding course after concluding the ritual at the main shrine building. The magistrate is followed by the master, priests of the shrine and priest of Shirahata Jinjya.
The archer aims at the first target. (Priest of Samukawa Jinjya.) The horse is Heian.
Naorai. At Shinmon, the magistrate, archers and staff receive the sacred sake in order.
Kamigamo Jinja Kasagake Ritual October 20 (Sunday) Kamigamo Jinja
The only cutomary event in West Japan.
Kamigamo Jinja is the only shrine that performs Kasagake as shrine dedication.
The archer gives in her arrow in Yashiroburi ceremony. This ceremony takes place only in Kasagake.
The Kasagake on the going is called Yundeyoko. The chance to aim at the target arises only when the archer and horse come in straight angle with the target which is surrounded by bamboo picket fence.
Metesugai on the return. As the target is at the right side ground level it is a difficult shooting because the bow has to pass over the horse’s head.
The cultural exchange session certified by the ‘Tokyo 2020 Supporting Program’ and ’beyond 2020’ program with the archers that took place after the Kasagake performance. There was participation of many foreigners and the disciples skilled in English joined in this session.
Nihon-odori Yabusame Kishashiki October 27 (Sunday) Nihon-odori, Nakaku ,Yokohama-shi
Tencho chikyu no shiki (prayer on horseback) in front of the Kanagawa Prefecture Main Office Building The bow is drawn as full moon to the sky and to the ground praying for world peace, good harvest and people’s health. The horse is Tenzan.
The march proceeds with the Prefectural Governor as Sobugyo (controller of magistrates) through the riding course specially fixed for the occasion with soil placed on the street.
The yabusame performance was held twice, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, firmly cheering up the Rugby World Cup from Nihon-odor. The horse is Tenzan.
The session with the archers. The archers show their usual feature, not the tense one during yabusame.
Meiji Jingu Yabusame Ritual November 3 (Sunday)
The morning of yabusame ritual. The morning gathering braces one’s energy and the eased atmosphere flies away.
In relation to the yabusame held in Turkey (Istanbul) last year, the visitor to Japan, Mr. Bilal, wears the yabusame costume and experiences archery on horseback. The horse is Heian.
While many events such as Budo (martial arts) festival go on, the march starts from the Homotsuden (Treasure Museum) to the Honden (Main Shrine Building ).
Meigen no gi takes place at the Main Shrine Building. The bow string is sounded three time to drive away the evil energy.
The archer aims at the second target in the votive shooting. The shooting can only be done on fitting the next arrow after shooting the first target. The horse is Tenzan.
A disciple instructs Shoyaku (staff )how to change the Shiki no mato ( target with five colored circles). Yabusame can only be performed safely with the help of those who support the progress of the event.
The cultural exchange session certified by the ‘Tokyo 2020 Supporting Program’ and ‘ beyond 2020’ program with the archers that took place after the Yabusame performance. There was participation of many foreigners and those in charge of the Japan Equestrian Archery Association skilled in English served as interpreters in this session.
Zushi Beach Yabusame Kishashiki November 11 (Sunday) Zushi Beach Zushi-shi
Last of the year’s performance. The event that takes place at the beach is very popular together with Dosun Matsuri.
The horse is Usugane .
In the votive shooting, hitting the flowers behind the target is also considered a hit. The horse is Renge.
On a clear day, you can see Enoshima and Mt. Fuji on the back.
The Japan Equestrian Archery Association thanks very much to those who have visited the website and especially to those who have answered the questionnaire.
The questionnaire has being closed on January 31, 2017 with its mission concluded for the time being.
We hope to have you at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. Thank you again.