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Yabusame in Kamakura – A Great Combination!

Are you interested in Yabusame (Japanese archery)?  Have you been to the ancient town of Kamakura?  If you will be in Tokyo from September 14th to the 16th you can check both of these items off your “to do” list by heading to the Reitaisai festival at the Tsurugaoka Hachiman Shrine in Kamakura.

The Tsurugaoka Hachiman Shrine has been hosting this three day festival for over 800 years and it features traditional folk dancing, parades and Shinto ceremonies.  The highlight of the festival is the samurai archery exhibition, known as yabusame, on September 16th, where participants take aim at targets while galloping down a narrow path on horseback in traditional attire.   I had the privilege of seeing my first yabusame exhibition this April in Tokyo and it’s something that I would highly recommend.  The energy of the horses, the traditional attire and the excitement of the onlookers when one of the archers shatters a target makes for a fun and exciting outing.

The combination of yabusame, traditional dancing, parades and other activities at the Reitaisai festival make is a great way for visitors with limited time to see it all in one place! The Tsurugaoka Hachiman Shrine is located near Kamakura Station, about an hour south of Tokyo, and can be reached via the JR Yokosuka Line from Tokyo Station or the JR Shonan Shinjuku Line from Shinjuku Station. (area map PDF, see page 5)

For those who want to take in all three days of the Reitaisai festival, be sure to read 5 Zen Temples and Big Buddha in Kamakura for more great sights in the area and a hotel recommendation.

Image Credit:  Wikimedia, Tsurugaoka Hachiman-Shrine 06 & Personal Collection

Tags: Japan, Kamakura, Reitaisai festival, The Tokyo Traveler, Tokyo, Tokyo Travel Guide, Tokyo Travel Tips, Tokyo Visitors Guide, Travel, Tsurugaoka Hachiman Shrine, yabusame

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POSTED IN: Events, Sports & Recreation