I had heard of the Japanese traditional horseback archery, called Yabusame, when we were in Japan the last time in 2012. According to all the good information it’s best seen in Kamakura, but I heard about a demonstration being done in Asakusa on April 19th this year following a parade. I talked to our host, Hiro-san, about the festival and ceremony. He warned me that I might not find it as interesting as I thought if we watched the Asakusa festival, because the tradition there was only five years old and that wasn’t long enough to get very good.
But I was stubborn, since Jamie was so interested in seeing horseback archery and our friend Hazuki-san from the northern part of Japan was meeting us to go see it. Kim-san, our Korean friend also staying with Hiro-san, decided to come along and keep us from getting lost in Asakusa.
We arrived in the vicinity of the performance at just the right time to see the entire parade marching from their starting point to the beginning gate. This was the best view we got for the entire affair.
The samurai armored people are not archers but attendants.
One of the archers preparing in line.
So we shoved our way around until we found a spot where we could see the beginning of the track, at least. And then we stood for a while waiting.
The general description I see about the archery is that they should be shooting 3 arrows each, but as far as we could tell (from the sounds) they were only shooting one. So each archer (8 total I think) shot once after a big ceremony to start them off.
This was the only female participant (and she hit her mark).
6 out of 8 hit the one target we know they shot for…but we’re still fairly sure based on the rate at which they were riding and the way they wore their arrows that they were only shooting once.
So after that everybody pretty much left. Big crowd, lots of waiting, for just a few shots. Crazy.
On our way out for lunch we did see this guy:
Then we went to Akihabara with our friend from up north and hit the Doujinshi stacks a little hard. We really should’ve gone to Ikebukuro instead, but at least we got some good pictures.
And fast-forward to the Sunday night (our last night) and Hide-san dressed us up for some pictures:
And tomorrow: Our last day in Japan, so Ueno Park of course.