Culture Day

Japan is full of national holidays which celebrate different aspects of culture such as Marine day on the 15th July.

This year Culture Day fell on Sunday 3rd November which meant Monday was another day off.

I visited Meji Jingu Shrine which is the home of the spirits of Emperor Meji and Empress Shōken . These names were given to them after they had died which is part of tradition which combines the era and their contributions. Their actual names were Mutsuhito (睦仁) and Masako Ichijō (一条勝子).

The Emperor Meji and Empress Shōken helped to transform Japan from a feudal country to a modern power using Western ideas as he wore western clothing and ate western food.

Empress Shōken was a very accomplished woman and became the first Japanese Empress to play a public role. She was able to read poetry from the Kokin Wakashū, collection of ancient and modern Japanese poetry by age 4 and was writing her own by age 5.

The Japanese loved them which is why Meji Jingu Shrine was built. I will be do a full post on Emperor Meji and Empress Shōken as I think they deserve one.

The day was sunny and warm and many came to pay their respect as well as to watch or participate in the days activities. There were various competitions held during the day but I was mainly there for Yabusame. This is archery on horseback and it’s exhilarating to watch. Again I am going to be doing a detailed post on Yabusame

Me with some of the archers

It was a wonderful day and I also had a go at shooting with the bow and arrow. I definitely recommend this for anyone visiting Japan next November.

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