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Japanese master of the bow and the horse. Good against cavalry and artillery.
—In-game description

The Yabusame is a mounted archer in Age of Empires III: The Asian Dynasties that is unique to the Japanese and can be trained at Stables and Atakabunes, and by Daimyos, once the Fortress Age is reached. It fires a bow from a long range.


The Yabusame can be seen as a sort of mixture of the Cavalry Archer and the Culverin. It has a longer range and more ranged resistance than most ranged cavalry. It is the only archer cavalry to have less base damage per second (per population) than a European Dragoon.

The Yabusame has several unique advantages and disadvantages. One major advantage that they have is their unique combination of very long range and very high armor. This allows them to withstand ranged units much more effectively than most other ranged cavalry. With careful micromanagement, they can kite musket infantry indefinitely without taking damage. They also are able to stand up to other ranged cavalry, due to their armor and superior range. They are also substantially better at withstanding Skirmisher fire, although they will deal little damage in return.

The other major advantage of Yabusame is their enormous multiplier against artillery. As Flaming Arrows do not gain a multiplier against other artillery until upgraded to Honored in the Industrial Age, Yabusame must fill the role of ranged anti-artillery. Utilizing the Yabusame's two upgrade cards will further enhance their effectiveness in this capacity. Like all ranged cavalry, they are also effective against heavy cavalry, although care must be taken to avoid cavalry making contact with them, as they are quite frail in melee. Their extra-long range does make this easier to manage.

The primary disadvantage is their very high cost. At a total of 210 resources, mostly coin, they can be quite challenging to mass. Japan has several ways to overcome this, however. Having access to a Bank from the Dutch Consulate, being able to ship 1000 coin twice in the Fortress Age, and having Shrines able to provide a passive coin trickle can all allow a Japanese player to be able to invest into Yabusame, if carefully planned for. Even so, care must be taken to micromanage them carefully, as losing them carelessly will cause heavy losses economically.

A secondary disadvantage of Yabusame is that they do not compliment or combine well with Ashigaru Musketeers. As Ashigaru are quite often the standard unit of Japanese armies, Yabusame can be quite redundant. With both countering cavalry and being countered by ranged infantry, there is a lot of overlap in roles. With only the anti-artillery role differentiating the two units, it is unecessary to use both simultaneously in most situations. A final disadvantage of Yabusame is they are relatively slow for a ranged cavalry, although this can be negated by utilizing the speed bonus at the Golden Pavilion.

Yabusame combine well with Yumi Archers, as they compliment each other's roles and share the same (initial) range. As Yumi do not cost coin, this also helps lessen the impact of Yabusame's coin-heavy cost. Mixing in a few Naginata Riders will round out the army, providing a hard counter to every standard unit type.


The Yabusame is automatically upgraded to Disciplined (+20% hit points and attack) in the Fortress Age.

Age Upgrade Cost Effect
Age IV tech tree aoe 3.png
Honored cavalry.png Honored Yabusame 600 wood,
600 coin
Upgrades Yabusame to Honored (+30% hit points and attack)
Imperial Age
Exalted cavalry.png Exalted Yabusame 1,500 wood,
1,500 coin
Upgrades Yabusame to Exalted (+50% hit points and attack); requires Honored Yabusame

Further statistics[]

As Yabusame are unique to the Japanese, only technologies that they have access to are shown in the following table:

Unit strengths and weaknesses
Strong vs. Heavy cavalry, Hand Shock Infantry, artillery
Weak vs. Heavy infantry, ranged infantry, light cavalry
Hit points Comanche Horse Breeding.png Comanche Horse Breeding (+10%)
Cree Tanning.png Cree Tanning (+5%)
Navajo Weaving.png Navajo Weaving (+5%)
Attack Carib Kasiri Beer.png Carib Kasiri Beer (+10%)
Carib Garifuna Drums.png Carib Garifuna Drums (+1.0x multiplier vs. villagers)
Seminole Bowyer.png Seminole Bowyer (+25%)
Tupi Poison Arrow Frogs.png Tupi Poison Arrow Frogs (+10%)
Yoga.png Yoga (+5%)
Speed Comanche Mustangs.png Comanche Mustangs (+10%)
Apache Endurance.png Apache Endurance (+5%)
Creation speed Cheyenne Horse Trading.png Cheyenne Horse Trading (-25%)
Inca Chaquis Messengers.png Quechuan Diet (-25%)
Train cost Mapuche Ad-mapu.png Mapuche Ad-mapu (-10% coin cost)
Other Merritocracy.png Meritocracy (-20% upgrade cost)

Home City Cards[]

As Yabusame are unique to the Japanese, only their cards and other civilizations' TEAM cards are shown in the following tables:


The Asian Dynasties[]

  • The Yabusame has 50% ranged resistance, a x3.5 multiplier against heavy cavalry and a x8.0 multiplier against artillery.
  • The Yabusame incorrectly reuses the Yamabushi's dialogue files.
  • The Yabusame has 8 damage.

The African Royals[]

  • With update 38254, the Yabusame has 45% ranged resistance, a x3.25 multiplier against heavy cavalry and a x7.0 multiplier against artillery.
  • With update 43871, the Yabusame now correctly uses his dialogue files.
  • The Yabusame has 9 damage.


Yabusame is the ancient art of archery, or Kyudo, while riding on horseback. “Kyudo” is Japanese for “Way of the Bow.” The history of Yabusame is rooted in legend, beginning around 530 CE, when it is believed that the 29th emperor of Japan, Kinmei, prayed for "Tenka-taihei" (peace) and "Gokoku-houjyou" (good harvest) and then fired from horseback at three targets. The art of Yabusame has never strayed far from its roots and even today is perceived foremost as a ritual honoring the gods and calling forth their blessings.

Minamoto No Yoritomo, first of Japan’s feudal shoguns, had great respect for the art of Yabusame and worked to establish it as a part of standard military training and practice. During his reign, Minamoto established the Ogasawara School, a specialized institution for teaching the arts of foot and mounted archery. He also started the Tsurugaoka Hachimanguu Yabusame Divine Performance, a showcase for the most highly talented Yabusame archers. The first event was held on August 15, 1187. Since that day the ceremony has been held every year to the present, although it went on temporary hiatus during the Pacific conflicts of World War II.