A history of Toshiya archery 通し矢の歴史
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.
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.
About Sanjusangendo 三十三間堂概説
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.
Hey, Sanjusangendo has 35 ken, doesn’t it? I counted them!
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.
The statues of Fujin and Raijin inspired Tawaraya Sotatsu to paint Wind God and Thunder God.
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.
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.