Emperor Meiji – 160th Anniversary
On November 3rd in 1852 the boy who would become Japan’s greatest emperor, Mutsuhito, was born. These days he is more well known as Emperor Meiji – the 122nd emperor of Japan, who took the throne in 1867 and guided the country from being an isolated feudal island state to become the first Asian state to defeat a major European power in war. To his honor, the Meiji Shrine is holding their grand Autumn Festival (明治神宮秋の大祭) which culminates on the 3rd with Kobudo, Kyudo, Aikido, Momote-shiki and yabusame (mounted archery). I am not going myself, but if you were, I would recommend starting with the Kyudo (zen archery) at 09:00, the moving on with Kobudo (old warrior skills like shooting, naginata, etc.) at 10:00 and catching the Momote-shiki (ritualized zen archery) at 11:00 and finishing with the Yabusame at 13:00. Be well aware that the best places to see the action will fill up very early, so if you are serious about getting a good spot to see the Yabusame (the best spot is about 15m after a target, there are usually three targets, and I prefer the first one) you might have to skip seeing any of the other events, or at least anything after 10 or 11 as avid yabusame fans will show up early. I love yabusame, but having seen quite a few already I would probably focus on catching the Kobudo (guns, with real black powder from ancient ninja recipes!). Here’s one photo of today’s event, Hogaku and Hobu, classical 17th century music and dance.