“Chagu Chagu Umakko Festival” (Horse Festival) is famous all over the country as a scene of the early summer of Michinoku (an old name of Tohoku region). It is a festival with faith “Sozen-sama” (the god of horses) which is held every second Saturday of June every year. In the festival, about 100 horses will march a distance of about 13 kilometers from Onikoshisozen-jinja Shrine in Takizawa City to Hachimangu Shrine in Morioka City. It features gorgeous decoration of horse and lots of bells. It is said that the sound of a bell ringing “Chagu Chagu” every time a horse walks comes from the name of this festival. Horse ornaments are said to originate from “konida Shozoku” (costumes of animals carrying supplies) used for the Daimyo queue. The appearance of a horse hanging in colorful costumes marching is a masterpiece.
Originally it was a festival grateful for horse’s labor. It begins to thank appreciation for labor and pray for disease-free suffering of horses. The festival was held on June 15th before, but recently it was held on the second Saturday in June to have more people participate.
The march of horses is a large scale of 4 hours, with colorful costumes and huge bells on horses, with children and women wearing costumes on board. Although horses are not used now for farming, it is an important festival to horses for locals.
Iwate was the famous hometown of horse since the time of the Nara period.
Such Chagu Chagu Umakko Festival in Iwate Takizawa City is the traditional event which, appreciate farming horse and pray for state of perfect health, with the history of more than 200 years. 100 horses are dressed up by a colorful costume, together with the owner on the Onikoshisozen-jinja Shrine, and march through about 13-km distance to Morioka Hachimangu Shrine over about 4 hours.
The costumes are handmade of silk and hemp, totaling over 2 million yen.
Since the large and small bells attached to that costume are ringing with the lively sound “chagu chagu”, it came to be called “Chagu Chagu Umakko”.
“Chagu Chagu Umakko” is the festival of Takizawa City, Iwate Prefecture and Morioka City. It is also elected as “100 selections of soundscape in Japan” by the Ministry of the Environment. The highlight is the horses walking around in a gorgeous colorful costume. The line of 100 horses becomes a length of not less than 500 meters.
The costume to be put on the horses are called “konida Shozoku”. The costumes include “Neck Armor” “Nose Armor” “Eear Coverings” “Streamer” are very gorgeous. The owner’s feelings to the horse are conveyed.
On the outskirts of the Onikoshisozen-jinja Shrine of the starting point, peaceful pastoral land spreads out against the background of Mt. Iwate-san.
The colorful costumes in the surrounding green, the sound of a bell like “chagu chagu” is comfortable to the ear, and The dry sound of horseshoe “paka paka”. It is the very heart-healing sight.
|Name:||Chagu Chagu Umakko Festival (Horse Festival)|
|Address:||Hachimancho 13-1 Morioka, Iwate 020-0872 Japan|
|Access:||Morioka Hachimangu Shrine
JR Tohoku-honsen Line “Morioka-eki Station” (15 minutes by car)
|Tel:||(+81) 19-656-6534 (Takizawa-shi Tourism Office)|