Tsuwano Festivals

 

“Tsuwano Yabusame Festival (流鏑馬まつり)” .

Yabusame is a type of mounted archery which has a long history. An archer on horseback shoots arrows at a wooden target. First, during the Heian period, there were many such contests in Japan, but Yabusame as it practiced now was not known to many people. It was first invented by Minamoto Yoritomo (源頼朝) as a way to train his samurai . However Yabusame became less and less popular and finally disappeared. It was only revived during the Edo period as a mental and spiritual discipline for samurai. Now, Yabusame is only celebrated as a festival in several places in Japan including Tsuwano.

This festival is held every second Sunday in April.  Although there are a few mounted archery festivals left in Japan, Tsuwano's festival is the only one which actually takes place on a dedicated archery field. In general, the morning contest starts at 11a.m. and the afternoon session starts at 2 p.m. It gets very busy, so get there early to get a good view.

*Information
               Tel: 0856-72-0652 (Japanese only)
      Fee: free

               Parking area: There are no parking areas but Michinoeki (道の駅) is available.

Gion Festival (祇園まつり)
This is also famous in Tsuwano. The Gion festival is held at Yasaka Shrine. Couples in dressed in white dance to the music of bells, flutes and drums (This is called Sagi-mai) The couples in white costumes are followed by dance performances of young children, parading through Tonomachi street, around Tsuwano station and the city outskirts. This festival takes place every July.

*Information
             Tel: 0856-72-0652 (in Japanese only)
             Place; around Tonomachi street
     Fee, free
             Parking area; There are no parking areas. Please use Michinoeki( 道の駅).

More Information is HERE in Japanese.

(written by Aiko)

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