Moro Yabusame Matsuri

Moroyama-machi, Iruma-gun, Saitama


Izumoiwai Jinja, Moroyama-machi, Iruma-gun, Saitama
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November 3rd


Moroyama Town

Related Web Site

MOROYAMA Town Official Web Site


Moroyama-machi is well known as a “Yabusame town.” Izumoiwai Shrine holds the spring Yabusame on the second Sunday of March and autumn Yabusame on November 3rd every year. These are Shinto rituals with a history of more than 900 years.

Yabusame is a martial art with the object of hitting three targets while riding a horse. The original Yabusame began in the Heian era. When the samurai gained their power from the late Heian era through the Kamakura era, they tended to dedicate Yabusame to a shrine in order to pray for victory. It was found that Yabusame was dedicated to just 14 shrines in Saitama Prefecture. Currently, Yabusame is dedicated to Izumoiwai Shrine in Moroyama-machi and Hagihiyoshi Shrine in Tokigawa-machi, only two locations in Saitama.

Moro-no-Yabusame originated in 1063, the late Heian era. The samurai, who prayed for victory at the Izumoiwai Shrine, then returned to dedicate Yabusame in appreciation of victory.

For Moro-no-Yabusame, three boys aged 15 or younger from the finest families are chosen as archers. They make ablutions to purify themselves with clean water (Misogi) from the Mitarase pond or Moro River for three days before the festival to prepare for Yabusame. The three boys dress up to show their brilliant and brave skills during Yabusame.

It is considered that the performance of Yabusame by the samurai declined in the Edo era, but its dedication to the shrine was handed down in conjunction with the indigenous faith in the divine fortune of crops. In particular, many Yabusame were handed down in the sericulture regions. Yabusame is also thought to cure a child’s disease or stop a baby from crying at night. Thus, you can pray for the growth of children. The Moro-no-Yabusame in the unique style of this area evolved while integrating martial arts and various folk beliefs.

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