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Japanese Archery – Kyudo (弓道)


I read somewhere that on Coming of Age Day (成人の日, second Monday of January) there is an annual archery exhibition at Meiji Jingu (明治神宮). My class was cancelled for the holiday so we went to take a look. Unfortunately, there are no signs and we got bad directions a couple of times. It turns out there were two different archery activities going on (but we didn’t realize that until later). Anyway, we found this one (on the north side, much closer to Yoyogi Station than Harajuku Station), and it was fun to watch.

Each archer fires at their own pace after going through a series of ritualistic steps. They get two arrows each. I believe only those who hit the target twice are invited to stick around for the finals. I don’t know this for certain as we didn’t stay until the end, but some people were leaving while others weren’t.

In the photo above you can see the results of a couple of archers who had to be thinking “if only…” It doesn’t matter which part of the target you hit. Dead center (a bullseye) counted the same as an arrow stuck in the outer fringe.

There were two, really amazing archers. One was the guy above and another was a lady. Why were they amazing? Both were shaking like crazy until a split second before they let their arrows fly. One of the lady’s arrows actually fell to her feet while she was loading it she was shaking so badly. But both hit the target with both of their arrows. From the way they were vibrating I would have bet they would have hit someone in the audience before they hit the target.

After departing we found the place doing momoteshiki (百々手式) and caught the tail end. Pictures from that more stylish event will be coming soon.

2 Responses to “Japanese Archery – Kyudo (弓道)”

  1. 1

    See my blog post about the archery event at Meiji Jingu during Coming of Age Day. You are right, there were no signs – but it held behind the Treasure Museum.

  2. 2