Tag Archives: Northern Japan

Yabusame – Women’s Horseback Archery Festival

Photo property of NewinNippon

The history of Japanese horseback archery dates back to the 4th century, however, women mounted archers are a modern innovation.

Photo property of NewinNippon

Photo property of NewinNippon

Yabusame (流鏑馬) is a type of mounted archery in traditional Japanese archery. An archer on a running horse shoots three special “turnip-headed” arrows successively at three wooden targets. A red parasol is displayed if the rider hits the target with the arrow.

Photo property of NewinNippon

Traditionally, women were barred from performing in yabusame, but in 1963 female archers participated in a yabusame demonstration for the first time. Every spring in Towada, women from around the area demonstrate their marksmanship while balancing on a galloping horse!

Photo property of NewinNippon

A yabusame archer gallops down a 255-meter-long track at high speed. The archer mainly uses the knees to control the horse and uses both hands to draw and shoot the bow.

Yabusame was designed as a way to please and entertain the myriad of gods that watch over Japan, thus encouraging their blessings for the prosperity of the land, the people, and the harvest.

Photo property of NewinNippon

An arrow finds it’s mark!

Photo property of NewinNippon

A young archer in training.

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Its Festival Time in Nothern Japan!

July and August are the summer festival months in Northern Japan. Every weekend there are multiple festivals nearby making it difficult to choose which one to attend! If you are in the area, here is a list of upcoming festivals

We attended the Neputa festival in Hirosaki last weekend. The parade of floats lasted for three hours while the crowd cheered them on. The floats are pulled by groups of men and women. Each float had drummers and flute players accompanied by groups of children carrying lanterns. The festival was truly a joyous celebration!

 

On a sad note, my Sony Cybershot DSC W-150 died 30 minutes before the parade ended. As you can see, the camera was taking fantastic night shots right up until the last. R.I.P. my dear little Sony Cybershot. You will be mourned…

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Rice field art near Hirosaki, Japan

Tony and I recently headed to Hirosaki for the Neputa festival and decided that we would stop in Inakadate and see the famous rice art recently featured on CNN. From a ground level view it is nearly impossible to determine the artwork. In order to view the subject depicted, you must view the field from atop a four-storied building across the street.

Amazing! I never knew there were so many color variations among rice plants!

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Wild Horses at Cape Shiriya

This weekend, we drove up to Cape Shiriya to view the wild horses.

“Crossbred with the Tanabu and the French Breton breed, Kandachime horses are tolerant of northern Japan’s brutal winters, have great stamina and exist on a simple diet.”

“In 1970, a local elementary school principal composed a tanka, a 31-syllable Japanese poem, that gave the Kandachime their name — literally “to stand in the cold.””

“On clear days, the northernmost Japanese prefecture of Hokkaido can be seen to the north across the Tsugaru Strait.” Well, it wasn’t a clear day….

You can read the full article from stars and stripes at: http://www.stripes.com/military-life/travel/where-wild-horses-roam-in-northern-japan-1.11331

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