Connect with us


[Hidden Wonders of Japan] The Archery Competition Where 'New Adults' Give it Their Best Shot

On Coming of Age Day, Kyoto hosts a national archery competition for new adults. It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience as all participants must be 20 years old.



The Omato National Archery Competition at Sanjusangendo Temple in Kyoto on the morning of January 15 (© Kyodo).

On January 15, which is Coming of Age Day in Japan, the Omato National Archery Competition was held at Kyoto's Sanjusangendo Temple in Higashiyama ward. The Kyoto Kyudo Federation is the organizer of the competition.

About 1,600 men and women — all 20 years old — gathered from across Japan to compete in archery. Clad in beautiful kimonos, they shot their arrows one after another at a target 60 m (197 feet) away.

This annual New Year event originates in the Toshiya archery contest of the Edo period, where samurai competed in how many arrows they could shoot under the eaves of the main hall. 

Participants aim for their targets. (© Sankei by Yukia Watanabe)

One of the participants, Marin Yamada, is a sophomore at Kyoto Sangyo University who lives in Kyoto's Kita Ward. Smiling, she says, "It really struck home that I've turned 20. I'm happy we could all draw our bows together."

Although the revised Civil Code lowered the age of adulthood in April 2022, this year's competitors were required to be 20 years old, just like in previous years.

archery competition
Women participate in vibrant kimonos. (© Sankei by Yukia Watanabe)


(Read the article in Japanese.) 

Author: The Sankei Shimbun


Our Partners

Whaling Today