Traditional cavalry march in Minamisoma’s Odaka to resume in July after 7-year hiatus

11 June 2017

An executive committee for the “Soma-Nomaoi” (wild horse chase) festival in Minamisoma city, Fukushima Prefecture, met on June 10 and endorsed a plan to revive the traditional procession of “samurai” warriors on horseback in the city’s Odaka district in July after a seven-year absence caused by the 2011 nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Daiichi plant.

To be resumed are two events -- a “Yoi-nori” (eve ride) cavalry march which proceeds in Odaka on the first day and a “Kaeri-uma” (returning horse) procession held on the second day after the main festival. An evacuation order was lifted in July last year in the district except in a “difficult-to-return” zone. The move has led to progress in the permanent homecoming of evacuees, raising the prospect of horses and people being secured for the festival. As a result, the committee’s Odaka executive panel for the Soma-Nomaoi festa, designated by the central government as an important intangible folk cultural asset, decided to resume the warrior procession at its general meeting last April.

“It’s encouraging to many people,” said Minamisoma Mayor Katsunobu Sakurai, chairman of the committee. “I would like to thank the Odaka executive committee’s decision.” This year’s horse chase festival is scheduled for July 29-31.

(Translated by Kyodo News)