Yabusame

Yabusame is a type of traditional Japanese mounted archery. An archer tries to shoot three arrows at three wooden targets while galloping down the 225 metres long track. Everything should be done in about 20 seconds.

Yabusame archer
Yabusame archer

Some experts claim that the yabasume was developed in the first part of the Kamakura period (1192-1333) by shogun Minamoto no Yoritomo (1147-1199) as form of practise for his samurai warriors. There are also those who think that this form of archery appeared at the end of the Heian period (794-1191) or even earlier.

This archery is also a ritual meant to entertain gods and ask for their blessing over country, harvest and people. The Yabasume is part of various events organized in shrines. For example, you can see it in early May during the Aoi Matsuri (Hollyhock festival) in Shimagomo Shrine of Kyoto. It is also performed for foreign heads of state when they are visiting Japan.