Yabusame celemony

Designated as an intangible folk cultural assets
of Fukuoka City

One of the most popular festivals in Iimori shrine is Yabusame. It is an archery ritual performed from the back of a galloping horse, which dates back 400years to the Kamakura era, when samurai fought to enlarge the domains of their daimyo.

A Yabusame archer gallops down a 255-meter-long track at high speed. An archer on a running horse shoots three special "turnip-headed" arrows successively at three wooden targets.

This style of archery has its origins at the beginning of the Kamakura period. Minamoto no Yoritomo became alarmed at the lack of archery skills his samurai had. He organized yabusame as a form of practice.

Yabusame performance starts at 1pm on October 9th annually. Yabusame archers and participants gather at the shrine and depart to get Oshioi (a sand form the sea for purification). After procession, every participants gater at the shrine again, and Oshioi dedication and purification ceremony is held. The archers drink Sake at the dance hall and receive a bow and arrows and a helmet.

In front of the main sanctuary, Hanaite (the head archer) play norito (Shinto prayers) for the fortunes of war and safety. It is a traditional practice to go around the main building three times clockwise. At the same time, the participants are setting their position on a riding ground to ready for the archery ceremony.

By Taisho's calling for a start, the three Hanaite (main archers) will start this gallant ritual. Yabusame ceremony plays for the nation peace and security, industrial prosperity. The target and arrows in successful shots were kept as amulets.

Misogi in the early morning (Ohbaru beach)

Sanshin (the procession to take Oshioi)

Hanaite (a main archer) pray for the luck and safe in the performance

Gozayu (calling for a start)

Hanaite (left;Mr. Yamamoto right;Mr.Sakaki)

Hirakisha(Mr. Matsushima)

Aizuougi (left; sign from the start point, right; sign from the goal point)

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