Soma Nomaoi Festival
Each year, over 500 samurai don traditional armor, mount their warhorses and raise their battle standards. This millennia-old tradition known as the Soma Nomaoi Festival is the hallmark of the still-thriving samurai spirit of Fukushima Prefecture.
The breathtaking spectacle dominates the land as riders and their horses move with a raw and passionate vigor, drawing visitors into an age long past. Riders race 1,000 meters clutching their swords in a competition called Kacchu Keiba. In the Shinki Soudatsusen event, riders fight to claim a pair of flags launched into the air above.
This ancient equestrian event is held concurrently at three regional shrines, spotlighting the competitive and dynamic facets of Japanese culture that stands in contrast with its typical image of quiet and stillness.