In the heart of Komoro, there was a refreshing place and beautiful park called Kaikoen. Built upon the ruins of Komoro Castle, Kaikoen retains the impressive castle gates and several stony fortress foundations. The tree lined paths and grassy picnic areas provide an incredibly peaceful, distinctly Japanese atmosphere for relaxing on a spring day. The park also contains a museum, and—although we didn’t check them out—a zoo and amusement park for the kids.
While wandering about the park, we discovered an archery range where a man was practicing Kyūdō ( “Way of the Bow”, traditional Japanese archery). Unlike normal recreational archery, Kyudo is considered a martial art, much like Judo or Aikido, and participating in it is to follow “the way of the warrior”, or budo .This means the purpose of Kyudo is just as much about spiritual development and the perfection of character as it is about hitting the target with an arrow.
Watching the man ritualistically draw back his longbow, take aim, and let arrow fly across the open shooting ground was intensely interesting, almost hypnotic. We lingered there to watch him for several minutes.