We had a busy weekend! Saturday was Shichigosan and Sunday was Yabusame in Zushi! Here's another great website explaining Yabusame in English. The art of Yabusame has been in existence since the 12th century, and the Japan Equestrian Archery Association's mission is "To maintain and promote the Japanese traditional horseback martial arts which have been maintained by Takedaryu, of which discipline originally established in the 12th century, Kamakura era."
Before the archery started there was a samurai parade near Zushi City Hall. A friend of mine was dressed in costume so we watched her and took some pictures then walked down to the beach. It started raining while we were walking through Zushi Ginza, but we had umbrellas and were fine. Once we got to the sand it was a different story. The wind and rain picked up. We stood under and underpass to stay dry for about an hour and the kids had so much fun running and playing. I had my friend's son with me too, so the girls had a playmate. While we were under there an American man came in with his Japanese wife. She explained a lot of things that would be happening and even was nice enough to let us stick with them. She knew a good place to stand, so sure enough we followed! They were both so nice and as it turns out he's retired Navy.
The pictures speak for themselves and the video below will too. But basically the horse runs at full speed and the rider shoots at three targets. The kids sitting down next to the target (we were at the first of three) replace them for each rider and when they come back up the beach they also give the riders the arrows.
After they were just about done I walked around the tents to see what everyone was standing in line for. It was pieces of wood branded with something on it, I'm assuming from the Yabusame. I took some pictures and one of the men invited me inside the tent. I got some more pictures and as I was walking away they gave me a piece. I offered to pay for it, but one man said, "Daijoubu desu" which means "it's okay," or "it's fine." How nice was that?!
It was a raining morning and early afternoon, but we got on the train, met some friends down on the sand and had a really good time! The first video is obvious, and the second is a small group of us trying to figure out how to get a bottle of ramune, or soda, open.