Fujinomori Matsuri held at Fujinomori Shrine is a chance to see riders show their exquisite skills on horseback
Fujinomori Shrine is in Kyoto’s Fushimi-ku, and every year for five days from May 1 they hold the festival Fujinomori Matsuri. During the festival there are many food stalls in the shrine area, portable shrines are carried around the shrine, there are Japanese drum performances, and there is also a samurai parade; this is a big event for Kyoto’s Fushimi-ku. Among these festival activities, the “Kakeuma Shinji” horse-riding ritual on May 5 where the representatives of the shrine show their exquisite skills on horseback is something you can’t miss. There are five sekku, annual ceremonies that were held at the Japanese imperial court, and the one held on May 5 as a prayer for boys to grow up strong is “Shobu no sekku,” also known as “Tango no sekku,” and because the word shobu has the same pronunciation as the word “contest” in Japanese. Because of this reason the skillful horse-riding was originally a ritual to pray for the safe return from the battlefield and victory for the samurai. If you get to see this jaw-dropping ritual you will surely not forget it.
*Fujinomori Shrine is sometimes mistakenly called Fujimori Shrine, and the festival is also sometimes called Fujimori Matsuri, but Fujinomori Matsuri is the correct name for it.