Gorgeous horses and ringing bells at the Chagu Chagu Umakko Festival
The Chagu Chagu Umakko Festival is a vibrant and colorful event that takes place in Morioka, japan, in the month of June. This festival is a celebration of horses and their significance in the culture and history of Iwate Prefecture. It is a spectacle that attracts both locals and tourists from all over the world.
The festival is named after the sound of bells ringing, which is known as “chagu chagu” in the local dialect. The festival features a parade of 100 horses, each adorned with brightly colored harnesses and bells. The horses march from Takizawa to Morioka, with small children mounted on their backs, creating a mesmerizing sight as they make their way through the streets.
The Chagu Chagu Umakko Festival has a rich history that dates back about 200 years. It was originally started by farmers as a way to give their hardworking horses a day off after the strenuous rice-planting season. It was also an opportunity for the farmers to pray for the health and well-being of their horses at the shrine. Over the years, the festival has evolved into a grand celebration of horses and a symbol of the deep connection between humans and animals.
One of the highlights of the festival is the intricate costumes worn by the horses. These costumes are made by individual households and are a reflection of the creativity and craftsmanship of the local community. The horses are adorned with up to 700 bells, creating a symphony of sound as they move. One of the most unique bells is the donut-shaped bell around the horse’s neck, which was originally used to ward off wolves.
During the festival, there are two resting points where visitors can interact with the horses. They can feed them carrots, take pictures, and admire their costumes and bells. It is a magical experience to be up close with these majestic animals and witness the bond between humans and horses.
To fully appreciate the historical significance of the Chagu Chagu Umakko Festival, a visit to Takizawa is recommended. This is where the festival begins, and it is also home to the Onikoshi Sozen-jinja Shrine, dedicated to the deity of horses. From there, the horses make their way to Hachiman Shrine in Morioka, following the same path that has been taken for centuries.
The Chagu Chagu Umakko Festival is not just a celebration of horses, but also a chance to explore the rich culture and heritage of Iwate Prefecture. After the festival, visitors can explore Hachiman Shrine and other attractions in Morioka, such as Iwate Park. This is a great opportunity to immerse oneself in the local traditions and experience the beauty of the region.
Getting to the Chagu Chagu Umakko Festival is relatively easy. It is accessible by shuttle from Morioka Station. Visitors can take the Tohoku Shinkansen to Morioka Station and then catch a special shuttle bus from bus terminal 16 in front of the station. The shuttle service is available only on the day of the festival, so it is important to plan accordingly.
In conclusion, the Chagu Chagu Umakko Festival is a must-see event for anyone visiting Japan. It is a celebration of horses, culture, and traditions that will leave a lasting impression. The sight of 100 horses parading through the streets, adorned with colorful costumes and bells, is a sight to behold. It is a reminder of the deep connection between humans and animals and the importance of preserving our cultural heritage. So, if you ever find yourself in Morioka in June, make sure to witness this spectacular festival and experience the magic of the Chagu Chagu Umakko Festival.
Address And Maps Location:
46-2 Ukaisotokubo, Takizawa-shi, Iwate-ken