A City of Festivals
Hachimangu Festival


The City of Morioka has four annual festivals, each of which mark a different season of the year. Much of the content that make up these festivals can be traced back to Morioka's roots as a center of rice farming and horse breeding.

On January 14, 15 and 26, the Hadaka-Mairi or Naked Pilgrimage Festival is held. In Hadaka-Mairi, barely-dressed young men make a pilgrimage in the winter cold to visit shrines where they pray for the health and prosperity of friends and family.

On June 15, Chagu-Chagu-Umakko Festival marks the close of rice planting. One hundred colourfully attired horses march in single file from Sozen Shrine in Takizawa to Morioka's Hachiman Shrine. This fifteen kilometer pilgrimage opens the summer festival season in Morioka. The "umakko" (horses) wear bells that ring as they walk, making a "chagu-chagu" sound as part of the procession.

August 1-3, over twenty thousand participants make up the Sansa-Odori Festival. Groups of Morioka citizens parade through the main street of the city and dance to the traditional sound of wooden flutes and the famous "taiko" (drums).

September 14-16, the Hachimangu Festival features Omikoshi (portable shrines) and floats pulled through the streets of Morioka. Accompanying them are crowds of people who chant and march to the rhythm of "taiko" (drums).

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