Monday, June 12, 2017

Chagu Chagu Umako

 Seventy decorated horses ridden by children trot through Takizawa in Iwate Prefecture on June 10. (Tetsuro Takehana)

The Asahi Shimbun  by KENGO KAMO/ Staff Writer  June 12, 2017

TAKIZAWA, Iwate Prefecture--Children in kimono mounted atop 70 brightly decorated horses, each festooned with 700 jingling bells, paraded along a 13-kilometer stretch of this northern region on June 10.

The Chagu Chagu Umakko Horse Festival dates back more than 200 years to the Edo Period (1603-1867) and the stallions and mares trotted between Onikoshi Sozenjinja shrine in Takizawa to Hachimangu shrine in the prefectural capital of Morioka.

In Japanese, "chagu chagu" represents the sound of ringing bells, while "umakko" means horses.

The origin of the festival lies in farmers allowing their workhorses a rest from the fields and having their health prayed for at shrines.

The event is designated as one of the nation’s intangible folklore culture assets.

Mounted children in kimono wave to bystanders at a horse festival in Iwate Prefecture on June 10. (Tetsuro Takehana)

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