Soma Nomaoi, a ritual dating back over a thousand years, takes place in northern Hamadori in Fukushima prefecture from Saturday to Monday on the last weekend of July each year. The highlights of the celebration are held on Sunday and include a procession of knights in armour parading through the town’s streets, a 1,000m race involving ten horsemen holding flags of traditional family crests, and a flag competition involving hundreds of horsemen.
The festival’s origins are rooted in the military exercises conducted by the wealthy samurai Taira no Masakado during the Heian period (794-1185). The clattering sounds of the knights in armour and their dynamic horseback riding are reminiscent of the battlefields where the powerful regional clans clashed.
Travel back to the time of Japan’s civil war period at this dynamic festival!
- Soma Nomaoi Executive Committee
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