Samurai On Horseback Race In Fukushima Festival

Samurai on horseback race in Fukushima festival

Horse riders wearing traditional samurai armor have raced in a festival in the Soma region of Fukushima Prefecture.

The annual Soma Nomaoi Festival dates back more than 1,000 years. It has become a symbol of reconstruction from the 2011 tsunami and nuclear disasters.

The 2 highlights came on Sunday, the 2nd day of the 3-day event.

In Kacchu Keiba, a race for samurai on horseback, riders carrying ancestral flagstaffs galloped through the Hibarigahara field.

Shinki-sodatsusen, a battle to catch sacred flags, was held on the same field. Hundreds of riders competed to snatch flags that were shot into the air.

Hideaki Kitamoto was one of the successful participants. He said he is happy to win the battle as he or his father catch a flag every year in the festival.

A 38-year-old former evacuee said he had returned to live in the Odaka district of the city of Minamisoma. He said the festival is just as exciting as it was before the 2011 nuclear disaster.