“Archers compete against each other in the 120-meter long Sanjusangen-do Temple, which is the world’s longest wooden structure. The l meter in diameter target is positioned 60 meters away, so a high level of expertise is required. As this event marks the first shooting of arrows in the New Year, it is also called “New Year archery” and is held on the Sunday closest to January 15th. Advanced-level archers, as well as 20-year-olds gather there from all over the country. In Japan, coming of age occurs when turning twenty. Rows of young women dressed in kimono in celebration of entering adulthood draw their bows, creating a very impressive sight… this ceremony apparently dates back to the middle of the 12th Century.
Admission is free on the day of this ceremony. In the main hall a Buddhist monk will pray for your health in the New Year by using a willow branch to sprinkle over you water purified through seven consecutive days of prayers by the monks.” You don’t get that in Telford. Or Vegas. I often think competitive Western archery could do with the odd injection of romance and colour and ritual. There’s too much nylon sometimes.