New Year's Falconry

Experience one of the pastimes of the samurai firsthand at Sengan-en

See a thrilling display of traditional samurai falconry over the New Year period at Sengan-en. For the samurai falconry was not only a pastime suitable for the warrior classes, it was also considered a rite to bring good luck. In the hopes that 2022 will be an improvement on this year we are holding three displays of falconry in the lower garden in December and January.

In Japan the earliest reference to falconry appears in the Nihon Shoki dated around the year 350 and refers to a Korean emissary bringing a hawk restrained to a pole to Japan. From the Nara period (710-794) falconer became an official military station and the Imperial Court managed control of the hawks. As the Nara period transitioned into the Heian period (794-1185) the killing of animals came to be seen as a vile act and falconry waned in popularity. With the Kamakura period (1185-1333) and the rise of the warrior classes falconry became a popular samurai pastime and schools such as the Suwa-ryu and Yoshida-ryu were founded.

Today the season for falconry is strictly limited to the period between November 15th until February 15th. Falconers train their birds over the summer and hold falconry displays starting in the Autumn. Find out more about the history of falconry in Japan and its connection with the Shimadzu clan here.

An expert falconer will show traditional Japanese falconry in the gardens and explain the techniques used to rear the birds and catch prey. Make sure not to miss out on this opportunity to see a lesser seen aspect of samurai culture performed at the house and gardens of the Shimadzu family.

New Year's Falconry
Saturday, January 3rd
11:00 - 11:20, 14:00 - 14:20
The lower garden at Sengan-en
Free to watch with entry to Sengan-en
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