Held on the second Saturday of June each year, the Chagu Chagu Umakko Festival is one of the early summer traditions of Iwate. Adorned in gorgeous costumes and bells, a parade of approximately 100 horses makes its way along a 13km route from Onikoshi-Souzen Shrine to Morioka Hachiman Shrine, which takes approximately 4.5 hours in total!
Iwate has been famous since ancient times as taking pride in its horses, as can be seen in the traditional “Nanbu Magariya” houses, where horses and their masters would live together under the same roof. It is said that the origins of this festival go back to when farmers would visit shrines to give thanks for the power of their beloved horses, whose strength was indispensable for working the fields, and also to pray for a bountiful harvest. More than 200 years later it has become one of the Tohoku region’s most historic and distinctive traditional events. The name “Chagu Chagu” is said to derive from the sound that the bells make as the horses walk along. The festival has also been selected as one of the “100 Soundscapes of Japan.”
It is always cute children from the lower grades of elementary school that ride the gorgeously adorned umakko (horses). The sight of the children smiling and waving from the horses back encourages spectators by the roadside to return the smiles and waves. The warm and smiling faces of everyone at this festival is one of its attractions.
- Second Saturday in June each year
- From Sozen Shrine in Takizawa City, past Morioka Station and over the Nakatsu River to Morioka Hachiman Shrine
- Chagu Chagu Umakko Preservation Society (within Morioka City Hall)
- Telephone Number