Osumi Peninsula

Sueyoshi Sumiyoshi Shrine Yabusame (Horseback Archery)

Intangible Folk Cultural Property
23 Nov  
  • Sueyoshi Sumiyoshi Shrine Yabusame (Horseback Archery)1
  • Sueyoshi Sumiyoshi Shrine Yabusame (Horseback Archery)2
  • Sueyoshi Sumiyoshi Shrine Yabusame (Horseback Archery)3
  • Sueyoshi Sumiyoshi Shrine Yabusame (Horseback Archery)4
Sueyoshi Shrine is host to one of the three yabusame (horseback archery) festivals in Kagoshima Prefecture (along with Shijukusho Shrine in Koyama, Kimotsuki and Oonamuchi Shrine in Fukiage, Hioki). As recorded in Sangoku Meishozue (Geography of Southern Kyushu), the Sueyoshi Shrine yabusame was already a fixture in the mid-19th century; however, no one knows how far it dates back. The festival is held at the time of the fall harvest celebration. Specifically, it used to be held on November 19th, but it is now held on November 23rd (Labor Thanksgiving Day, a national holiday).
The event is held to pray for national prosperity and an abundant harvest. It is said that the more arrows that hit the target, the better the next year’s harvest will be. In 1981, the Sumiyoshi Shrine yabusame was designated as a Prefectural Intangible Folk Cultural Property.
On the day of the festival, a shrine ritual begins at about 1:00 PM, and the main ceremony begins at around 2:00 PM. Three targets are placed along the path to the shrine, which extends roughly 250 meters (273 yards). The valiant event consists of an archer firing arrows at the targets while riding a horse from the shrine gate towards the shrine itself. The archer’s costume resembles what hunters were said to have worn in the early 13th century.
The shrine grounds also host an offertory martial arts tournament, where spectators are treated to konjac, amazake (sweet, mild sake), and other harvest festival dishes.

Basic Information

Event Days 23 Nov      
Telephone Number099-482-5958  ※Japan's International Country Code is 81
Address 鹿児島県曽於市末吉町二之方3995-1   Directions
Venue Sueyoshi Sumiyoshi Shrine
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