Tanomi Sai (Harvest Festival) and Yabusame

Hello again everyone, it has been quite a while since I have made an entry as we accommodated interns from Taiwan for the last few months and had spent most of the time documenting their experiences in Aso.

Today I am back with news of an event that takes place every year in September, Tanomi Sai or the rice harvest festival in English. The event took place last week on the 25th at the Aso Shrine.

As with many other events, due to the COVID pandemic, it was the first time in a few years that the event took place in full.

Shortly after arriving I was treated to the Gan no Sumo which is a ritualistic Sumo wrestling event. The event is more focused on the ritual of Sumo rather than a serious aggressive competition.


The participants were made up of local residents, many of which I recognised from around Aso. Despite the ritual being authentic in terms of the rules, everyone seemed to have light hearted fun and there were a few surprising winners.

Glancing behind for a moment, I noticed someone preparing and carting off a box full of real bows. I had heard a little about one of the main events involving archery but still was not quite sure what to expect.


Before long, men in impressive traditional costumes emerged on horseback and performed a small parade around the grounds of the shrine, showing off their beautiful horses.


With the parade finished it was time to move locations down to the long approach just outside the shrine walls.

A long track had been roped off in preparation for the Yabusame event, a competition involving archery while mounted on horseback.

Three individual targets had been setup along the run and the previous parading riders had now lined up for the starting ceremony.


The first half of the event was a practice run where riders each took turns without bows to aim their shots at the 3 targets.

During practice, one rider fell off their horse and there were gasps from the audience as everyone showed great concern for his safety. Luckily he emerged uninjured and unscathed and shortly after remounted his horse.

After all riders had taken their practice shots it was time to arm themselves with bows and arrows ready to start the real competition.


As the event progressed the targets began to get smaller and smaller with every round adding an extra challenge to the already extremely difficult event.


Even though many of the riders failed to hit the final targets, everyone appreciated their amazing performance and strong effort.

The event was the definite highlight of the day and a great opportunity to witness such a historic tradition in the year 2023.

If you are ever in Aso at the end of September, I would advise taking the time out to catch this annual event.

Thank you for following and we hope to greet you sometime in Aso.


カテゴリー: English Blog, Recommendations   タグ: , , , , , , , , ,   この投稿のパーマリンク

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