TECH & CULTURE
June 09, 2023
Chagu Chagu Umakko is a festival held every June in Iwate Prefecture. Iwate Prefecture has been famous for its horses since the Nara period (710-794). For many years, horses have been a part of Japanese life. Horses initially served as war horses, but later assumed the role of farm horses and goods carriers. In Iwate Prefecture, people have loved and taken care of horses for hundreds of years, therefore a custom was born to visit shrines enshrining horses to pray for their good health. Over 100 horses parade from Onikoshi Sozen Shrine to Morioka Hachimangu, a distance of 15 kilometers, over four hours. The festival is characterized by the colorful decorations on the horses and the many bells, and the sound of the bells “chagu chagu” as they walk is believed to be the origin of the festival's name.