Kishamitsumono' is a general term that refers to forms of traditional Japanese horseback archery:'Inu oumono' (dog hunt), 'Yabusame' (shooting at fixed targets), and 'Kasagake' (shooting at suspended targets at closer range). The archery forms came into existence between the Heian and Kamakura periods and were originally used as a method for warriors on horseback to practice shooting the enemy. Only a select number of warriors were permitted to ride on horseback. Archery whilst mounted on horseback was considered as one of the highest forms of martial arts. During medieval times, Japanese warriors used to practice martial arts in a variety of ways. The three methods mentioned above of practicing archery on horseback are considered representative, and are designated by a general term "Kisha" (horseback archery) in Japanese. In separate competitions, the rules and etiquette of each of the forms has been maintained through to present times.
On a riding ground that extended 73 meters in each direction, three groups made up of 12 horsemen in each group (a total of 36 riders) and two other riders acting as referees and two other riders acting as marshals chased after and competed to shoot 150 released dogs. The arrows used were called 'Kantoya' and had no arrowhead affixed. The event is no longer held due to the expense and difficulty in arranging, along with animal protection concerns. For details refer to the listing on "Inu Oumono" (dog hunting).
Typically, archers shoot at targets varying in height, size and placement (somewhat left or right) and, typically from a galloping horse. Kasagake is more difficult than Yabusame and closer to actual combat. For details refer to the listing on "Kasagake."
Three targets are positioned on the left hand side of the archer on horseback who proceeds down a 218 meter long straight track. The horseman gallops his steed at full tilt while shooting at the three targets in succession. Even to this day, Yabusame events are held temples in various parts of Japan. For details refer to the listing on "Yabusame."