Kyoto is bustling in May with preparations for the most famous and important festival—Aoi Matsuri. Despite the fact that the main festival procession falls on the 15th of May, many ceremonial preparations and rituals start at the beginning of May. Yabusame Shinji, for example, is a ceremony that is held annually on May 3rd at the Shimogamo Shrine.
The main highlights of the festival are the Japanese mounted archers that ride along the 500 m long horse-track. The aim is to shoot three enemy targets successfully. Japanese people believe that the Yabusame Shinji ceremony helps make the Aoi Matsuri very peaceful and prosperous.