Horse Racing Samurai StyleJul 10th, 2009 | By Shane Sakata | Category: Events
Samurai on horseback, parading through town and competing in contests with a history that dates back more than 1000 years. That’s what you will witness if you attend the three day Soma Noma-oi Festival in Fukushima prefecture later this month. A Japan National Intangible Folk Cultural Asset, this event features a parade of 500 armored samurai warriors, horse chasing and racing, and a race to capture shrine flags propelled into the air with fireworks!
It’s sure to be a heart-pumping, adrenaline filled three days for the participants and those who attend this ancient festival in Japan’s Tohoku region.
The main events take place on Hibarigahara Moor and at the Ota and Odaka Shrines, both located in Minami-Soma City, as well as at the Nakamura Shrine located in Soma City.
Soma Noma-oi Festival Schedule
The Soma Noma-oi Festival takes place from from July 23rd through July 25
July 23rd – horsemen’s entry to the field, evening ride, and Soma Bon dance parade
July 24th (main day of the festival):
- 9:30-11AM Ogyoretsu – a procession of 500 warriors on horses marching through the streets to Hibarigahara grounds
- 12 Noon Koshiki Kacchu Keiba – samurai horsemen clad in armor and helmets, and carrying katana swords race on horseback over a distance of 1,000 meters.
- 1-1:3-PM Shinki Sodatsusen – Hundreds horsemen in ancient armor and helmets race to retrieve Shinki (Shrine flags) shot into the air with fireworks.
- 7:30-8:30PM Hi-Matsuri – a fire festival is held featuring a fireworks display held in Odaka.
July 25th - 9AM-12Noon Nomagake features young men in white costumes trying to capture wild horses bare handed for the dedication to the Shrine. (Odaka Shrine)
Soma Noma-oi Event Map (text in Japanese)
Soma Noma-oi Festival Access: Just over 3 hours JR Joban Line Limited Express “Super Hitachi” from JR Ueno Sta. to Haranomachi Station. From Haranomachi Station take the JR Joban Line to Odaka Sta.
Image Credit: Flickr, Samurai