Meiji-Jingu Yabusame in Harajuku

Japanese horseback archery at its finest

Nov 3rd
Venue: Meiji Jingu Shrine When: Tuesday - Nov 3rd 2020, 1:00pm - 3:00pm

Watching the Japanese art of Yabusame horseback archery is literally a thrilling experience. There is nothing quite like the thundering sound of horses galloping past while their riders expertly let fly their arrows.

With roots dating back to Japan's Kamakura period of the 12th century, modern Yabusame has become an obscure art practiced by only a couple of schools. Yet despite this obscurity, demonstrations of Yabusame always draw large and appreciative crowds. One of the major events in the Yabusame calendar is held on November 3rd at Meiji-Jingu Shrine in Harajuku, Tokyo.

To be up close and almost within touching distance of these riders is an incredible feeling and one not to be missed.

Getting there

Take the JR Yamanote Line to Harajuku station. The entrance to the Meiji Jingu Shrine is only a couple of minutes walk from the station. Once you enter the shrine, follow the path until you reach the staging grounds for the event.

More info

Find out more about Meiji Jingu Shrine.

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Sleiman Azizi

Sleiman Azizi @sleiman.azizi

A Japanese Permanent Resident, I have over 400 published articles on Japan as well as 5 English language books written in a traditional Japanese style. I happen enjoy writing. Funny that...I'm also the Regional Partner for Tokyo, Japan's never ending capital, so if you've anything to say about Tokyo - or Japan in general - don't be shy and contact with me via

Join the discussion

Sébastien Duval a year ago
Seeing yabusame the first time is definitely impressive! My first experience was in Kamakura city, and the area was packed... I assume the same is true for Harajuku; better go early?
Sleiman Azizi Author a year ago
Mine was in Sumida and yes, it too was packed. Most definitely get there early, especially if you want a closer view.
Kim B a year ago
Archery, on horseback?! That's impressive - I can only imagine that regular archery would be challenging enough, but this brings it to a whole new level.
Sleiman Azizi Author a year ago
Getting up close makes a huge difference.
Elizabeth S a year ago
A friend does yabusame. He's so excited about the horsemanship, the archery technique. He says it's extremely difficult. It took a year of practice to hit the target.
Sleiman Azizi Author a year ago
I can't imagine it being easy but the result is an incredible show. I highly recommend getting seats close to the action. It makes a huge difference.