“Soma Nomaoi Festival” (Equestrian Warrior Festival) is a festival held in July 23 to 25 every year in Haramachi City, Fukushima Prefecture. A cavalry group of men running through in the scorching sun! The scenery spreads as though it was time traveling.
The samurai wearing genuine armor helmet in the wild plain where the midsummer sun is shining will march steadily magically while haunting hatasashi-mono (battle flags). There are hundreds of cavalry warriors actually moving in front of your eyes, not vision on the screen or television. If you look carefully, the warriors sweat the face and you can hear the snorting of the horse. That power is exactly a picture scroll!
“Soma Nomaoi Festival” which reproduces the age of warring States is a festival of “horse and man” that makes viewers forget the times and creates different spaces. The cavalry warriors who are selected from each region will gather at the main festival of Hibarigahara in Haramachi City. On the 23rd afternoon, “Evening horse racing” will start. Soldiers wearing Jinbaori (sleeveless campaign jacket worn over armor) ride hundreds of horses loaded with old harness and develop a front battle against the next day’s production. While flapping colorful battle flags, cavalry warriors and others sprint 1,000 meters of riding ground all the way. The cloud of dust rises, the great cheers shake the circumference, and the thrill and excitement swirl. And the festival is even more exciting in the afternoon flag competition. When the flag of Myokenjinja Shrine comes down from the sky with a signal of fireworks, the movements of the horse and the person become active quickly, and they collide and intertwine. Their enthusiasm, their powerfulness pounds off the hot weather frantically. And on the 25th, the festival approaches the end with “Nomakake”. An old-fashioned event that captures the naked unbroken horse with bare hands and dedicts before the god is a traditional ritual based on the history of 1000 years.
Soma Nomaoi Festival is the biggest horse festival in Japan held in July every year in Soma City, Fukushima Prefecture. Its braveness and vigorous mastery is an unusual event nationwide to attract viewers. It is proud of the tradition of more than 1,000 years and is also designated as an important intangible folk cultural property of the country.
Even if you do not like horses, you get so excited the powerful Shinto Ritual, as if you can be wrapped with a spectacle time-slipped to 1,000 years ago.
The Soma Nomaoi Festival is the festival of three shrines, Soma Nakamura-jinja Shrine, Soma Ota-jinja Shrine, Soma Odaka-jinja Shrine.
It was designated as an important intangible folk cultural property of the country in 1952, and it is regarded as one of the Tohoku region (Northeast area of Japan) six major Festivals. It is also said to be the forerunner of the summer festival in the Tohoku region, and is widely loved by citizens as a festival telling the arrival of summer in the Tohoku region.
When the war-drum sounds in the summer sky with the roaring fireworks signaling, the warriors of about 500 cadres in total proceed in orderly horses.
Commanding general, Strategist, Samurai-Daisho (commander of warriors), Kumigashira (head of the group), etc., its organization is the same as the old cavalry army.
The formation will commemorate about 3 km to the ceremonial place of Soma Nomaoi Festival in Hibarigahara.
It seems that the appearance, which everyone is wearing armor, showing a sword, letting the ancestral flag blown in the wind, and it marches in a majestic manner, is as if watching luxurious Sengokui picture scrolls.
The formation can be viewed free of charge in downtown areas, but you can not watch competition between armored horse races and god flags without entering the ceremonial place of Hibarigahara. The purchase of a ticket is required for the entrance to the ceremonial place.
|Name:||Soma Nomaoi Festival|
|Address:||Haramachikuhashimotocho 4-13-27 Minamisoma, Fukushima 975-0006 Japan|
|Access:||JR Joban-sen Line “Haranomachi-eki Station” (8 minutes by car)|
|Tel:||(+81) 244-22-3064 (Minamisoma City Sightseeing Interchange Section Soma Nomaoi Executive Committee)|
|Price:||*Seats without reservation
840 yen (Adult)
Free (Junior High School Students or Under)
Please refer the official web page.