Valiant Mounted Archery Ritual under Fresh Green CanopyShimogamo Shrine, Kyoto
"Yabusame Shinji," or a mounted archery ritual, was held on May 3 at Shimogamo Shrine, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, in order to pray that Aoi Festival will take place peacefully. The stirring sound of horses galloping and the pleasing crack of breaking targets reverberated throughout the Tadasu no Mori forest which was clothed in dazzling verdure.
Three diamond-shaped targets measuring 50 square centimeters were installed along the rougly-400-meter horse lane in the Tadasu no Mori forest. Archers dressed in the costumes of court nobles or samurai shot arrows one after another, shouting "In, Yo," referring to Yin and Yang. When the arrows struck all three targets, it was announced as "Kaichu" or "all hit," causing the crowd of visitors to erupt in cheers and applause.
The mounted archery ritual is believed to date back to before the Nara Period. After several suspensions, it has been performed by the Ogasawara school since 1973.(translated by Galileo, Inc.)