Yabusame Horseback Archery Festival

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What I did
Tado-Taisha Shrine

Flag of Japan  , Kinki,
Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Yabusame Horseback Archery Festival in Kuwana was a small, but fantastic festival. We took the train with several friends to watch archers on horseback hit targets, following an ancient Shinto ritual. We learned that it is considered an admirable accomplishment if they can hit all three targets. We also learned that the ritual was originally meant to help the archers practice shooting the optimum place on an opponent wearing samurai armor, which is just below their helmet. Men and women archers alike, raced down the line on their horses, firing arrow after arrow at three targets set at close range from one another. We had so much fun listening to their yells as they rode through to each target. We also enjoyed the local food stalls selling things such as crepes, candied fruit and meat on sticks. There was also a tent set up where

Shinto priests were writing in calligraphy on the broken pieces of the targets and selling them. We bought one as a souvenir.

Afterward, we walked over to the nearby Tado-Taisha shrine. It was a plus to our trip because we had only come to see the archery. We almost didn't walk up the many stairs to see the shrine, but a few in the group really wanted to check out. It was magnificent! Shrines are a great place to visit in Japan if you love nature. The Tado shrine had a nice spring running through the grounds as well as several old, huge trees and a small waterfall. It was a great way to end the day and begin our small hike back to the train station.
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