Ōmato Archery Competition｜大的大会
Coming of age is a big deal for young Japanese men and women in the year they turn 20, and a large community ceremony is usually held in each city to welcome them into adulthood. Sanjūsangen-dō, a temple in eastern Kyoto, holds a special archery competition as well, called the Ōmato National Archery Competition.
Around 2,000 participants, both men and women from all over Japan, come to this temple in order to show the measure of their growth by participating in this contest of aim and skill.
In particular, the portion in which young women coming of age take their turns to draw their bows is very popular, largely due to the fact that the women do so wearing spectacular hare-gi, an ensemble for special occasions that consists of the long-sleeved furisode kimono, obi, and hakama pants, complete with hair ornaments and other lovely accessories.
The ritual is started off by a master archer firing the first shot before the new adults take their turns in sets. With two arrows and two minutes, only those who manage to hit the target set 60 meters away both times move on to the next round. It might sound simple, but at that distance it takes a high degree of skill to be able to reliably hit. This competition is based on a traditional competition called the Tōshiya, which in the past lasted for days and sometimes involved the shooting of thousands of arrows by an individual competitor. Remaining at the temple you can see beams splintered by shots from Tōshiya competitions past.
Entry to the temple is free on this day, and you can also receive a short purification blessing from a priest conducting the Rite of the Willow, a ritual that wards against headaches.
Things to See/Do
January 14th: Rite of the Willow (Yanagi no Okaji), 09:00 – 15:00
Ōmato Taikai Archery Competition
Free Entrance to Sanjūsangen-dō Temple
- General Admission: ¥600
- Junior High School, High School: ¥400
- Primary School: ¥300
- General Admission: 08:00 - 17:00 (09:00 - 16:00 from November 16th until March)
- Closed: No closing days