You will be amazed at the strength, skill, and endurance of equestrian archers as they compete in this Heian Period competition. The Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Reitaisai Festival will be held in Kamakura.
There will be many Japanese men wearing hunting costumes similar to feudal cavalry together in a Yabusame competition. Yabusame is a competition that combines Japanese-style horse riding and archery skills.
Early in the morning, people found Shinto priests performing all kinds of rituals. At about 10 am, the cavalry began to practice. Archers must ride on long distances between 208 and 255 meters at a high speed.
Slowly they let go of the reins, making archery with their bare hands. This skill requires dexterity and strength, as they can only use their legs to stay on horseback.
And it was accomplished during the peaceful 250 years of the Edo Period. Every year in December, technology that is difficult and regrettably fading with time is being honored at the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine.
That’s during the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Reitaisai Festival. The Reitaisai is a competition that requires strength, skill and endurance, similar to medieval tournaments in Europe.
Three archery targets were placed along a line 250 m long. Archers will wear traditional samurai hunting costumes and gallop on horseback, firing an arrow at each target one after another.
The arrows are specially designed to emit flute when shot so that the audience can hear. Thousands of people will attend the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Reitaisai festival every year.
Although the yabusame is the main event, the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Reitaisai Festival still has a lot to explore. Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine will hold a tea ceremony to honor the gods, along with a performance of traditional horse riding dances.
Next to the parade with mikoshi temples walking on the street. Everyone can enjoy the festive atmosphere with a variety of street food and drinks here. Don’t forget, you can also enjoy this horse racing yabusame at the Kamakura Festival next April.