Horseback archery, Tokyo

This item appears on page 4 of the February 2017 issue.

At Tokyo’s As­a­k­usa Yabusame festival, the horseback archery skills of Japan’s samurai are exhibited as riders in Edo-era clothing and at full gallop fire arrows at targets. Any rider who hits three targets is rewarded in a ceremony. 

Held the third Saturday of each April (in 2017, April 22) near the Kototoi Bridge on the Taito¯ Ward  side of Sumida Park, the Yabusame begins at 2 p.m. English-speaking visitors can buy a seat at the event for JPY3,000 (near $30) from the Taito City government office (4-5-6 Chome, Higashiueno, Taito-ku 110-8615, Tokyo, Japan).

The festival is preceded by a parade from Denpo-in Temple to Sanyabori Square, in the park, where a kushajishi (archery practice with deer-shaped targets made of grass) is demonstrated. Viewing of the parade and kushajishi is free.