February 28th, 2009 by
Category: Culture Art, Experience, Report

Fans, Target on the Box

Hi! I happened to have a chance to experience a traditional Japanese indoor game called ‘ To-sen-kyo’ in a neighboring town, Suzaka.

Suzaka is called a town of ‘Kura’ or traditional warehouses, once thrived as a big producer of high-quality silk.


1 What is ‘To-sen-kyo’?

‘To-sen-kyo’ literally means ‘throwing-fan-amusement’.

2 How to play

Put the target called ‘Chou’ (means butterfly) on the wooden box called ‘Makura’ (pillow). You sit on heels at a distance of about 2 meters and toss an open fan called ‘Oogi’ (folding fan)to the target; the primary objective of this game is to knock over the target, but if the fan hits the base, you will lose points.

The scores differ according to the pattern made by the fan and the target, and sometimes the box.

It is said to have become popular in the mid Edo period around 1770s and is still played in some areas.


I tried many times. At first, I did not know how to toss the fan properly, and so it did not even graze the target. BUT under the kind guidance of the staff, I improved a lot in the end!!


Well, it was more amusing than it looked and , what is more, it made me feel as elegant as a court noble in old days.

4 Responses to “‘To-sen-kyo’

  1. Dear Mr. Edward Martin,

    Thanks a lot for your interest!

    It is available according to your request except when they have other special events. Please write to me again when you can come and then i will ask them about the availablity.
    They hold ‘To-sen-kyo’ on a voluntary basis and so there are no set fees or anything: just a small amount of money to show your thanks would be fine.
    This small town, Suzaka, has a lot more traditional highlights for visitors to see or experience. It is just outside Nagano city — around 2 hours from Tokyo.

    Hope you can visit here soon in the near future!
    Thanks again!

  2. Pingback: Kimono Event and Experience « Nagano Ambassadors Blog

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