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Toshiya, the traditional Japanese archery at Sanjusangendo in 2021 canceled due to COVID-19 三十三間堂の通し矢を英語で解説

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A history of Toshiya archery 通し矢の歴史

三十三間堂

In ancient times, archery games were held in January in the Imperial court. The oldest one took place in 483.

Toshiya started in Tensho period (1573-1593). A monk shot arrows under the roof of Sanjusangendo. He kicked off a huge popularity of Toshiya.

In the period, the most popular game was “Ohyakazu 大矢数.” The archers aimed at a target 130 yards ahead. They shot arrows for 24 hours. Their triumph depended on the numbers of the arrows they shot.

Archers fight for the honor of a Han they belonged. Han was a kind of prefecture ruled by warlords.

The outstanding Samurai was Wasa Daihachiro. In 1686, he shot 13,053 arrows and hit a target 8,133 times in 24 hours. He shot 9 arrows a minute. The hit rate is 62 percent.

三十三間堂通し矢の跡

Some of the pillar of Sanjusangendo tell us the days of old. They have lots of halls.

The last time Sanjusangendo saw Ohyakazu is 1895.

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About Sanjusangendo 三十三間堂概説

三十三間堂

Sanjusangendo belonged to a temple called Rengeohin constructed in 1164 with the donation by Retired Emperor Goshirakawa. It was a huge temple and consisted of many buildings including Sanjusangendo in 300 acre. Rengeohin was caught by fire in 1249 and only Sanjusangendo escaped it narrowly.

“Sanjusan” of Sanjusangendo means 33. The name is translated “a temple which has 33 ken. Ken is a wall between pillars.

 

 

 

シカさん
シカさん

Hey, Sanjusangendo has 35 ken, doesn’t it? I counted them!

七里ヶ浜親方
七里ヶ浜親方

My turn! Let me explain!

Ken of Sanjusangendo means of Moya of it has 33 ken and 34 pillars.  Moya has a roof and there are extra 2 pillars for it. So, it has 35 ken and 36 pillars in appearance.

It enshrines 1,001 Kannon statues inside. All of them are national treasure of Japan. If you were interested in Kannon, check the link below.

Kiyomizudera statues 1: Kannnon with 1000 hands
The Gohonzon, the Buddhist statue of Kiyomizu-dera temple, is "Juichimen Senju Kannon," who saves us with 11 faces and 1,000 eyes and hands.

The statues of Fujin and Raijin inspired Tawaraya Sotatsu to paint Wind God and Thunder God.

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Access to Sanjusangendo on the day 当日のアクセス

The nearest bus stop is Sanjusangendo mae bus stop. No. 86, 88, 100, 110, 206, and 208 bus stops there. On the day of Toshiya, about 2,000 people take bus there. In addition to it, many people take these buses to get to Kiyomizudera temple.

たけちよ
たけちよ

So, take Keihan railways. Get off at Keihan Shichijo station.

If you stayed The Thousand Kyoto Hotel, or Kyoto Century Hotel, you would take advantage of Keihan 100yen bus. Ask tickets at the front desk.



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