Festivals & Events
Sanjusangendo Archery Contest 三十三間堂通し矢
A colorful competition of archery skill
Experience the spectacle of the Sanjusangendo archery contest. Seasoned archers and new 20-year-olds all gather to celebrate and compete by firing the first arrows of the New Year. Join the crowd on the closest Sunday to January 15th to take part in the festivities.
- Watching the young archers in their colorful kimono
- Getting a blessing from a monk in the main hall
How to Get There
Access Sanjusangendo from Kyoto Station by bus, taxi, subway, or on foot.
The temple that hosts the archery contest is easily accessible by both bus and subway. However, Sanjusangendo is only a 20-minute walk from Kyoto Station , which makes walking or cycling a good alternative to public transportation.
The contest is said to date back to the 12th Century
You can still find the marks of old arrows on the pillars of Sanjusangendo Temple
Join in with the celebrations
Rows of young women clad in bright kimono are the highlight of the archery contest. These young women celebrate their new status as adults by competing to hit targets standing 60 meters away.
Not just archery
Entry to Sanjusangendo is free on the day of the archery contest, and a trip inside the temple is not to be missed. Alongside viewing the 1,000 statues of the thousand-armed Kannon, you can also attend another important religious event that is held on the same day. This ritual, known as Yanagi-no-Okaji, is said to help heal headaches. If you suffer from migraines, drop by the temple to be anointed by the healing water, and get the new year off to a good start.