Tokyobling's Blog

Soma Nomaoi Parade

Posted in Animals, Japanese Traditions, People, Places by tokyobling on August 1, 2012

The great horse festival up in Minamisoma, Fukushima Prefecture is a three day event and the first even on the second day is the grand parade where the groups of riders ride out towards the race course and festival grounds. Each group is lead by a commander and has dozens of riders of all ages. The coastal parts of Minamisoma city was heavily damaged by the Tsunami in March last year and many of the horses were killed, so for this year the festival had to scramble to find and train new horses as replacements, I don’t think that I have ever seen such a variety of breeds and sizes in a single event before. There were super heavy draft horse mixed with retired racing horses and native Japanese ponies. There was also quite a range of riders, both kids and young men and women but also many older riders took part. The day was hot unlike anything I have ever experienced before and in the noon sun with no shadow and very little water these riders and their horses spent hours on the streets of the city. I would never have been able to survive a day like this in that armor they were wearing! Sometime around one in the afternoon I had to give it up and leave the festival ground, even though I had managed to get a special photography permission and gone all the way there from Tokyo. Instead I found a piece of tarmac that wasn’t completely in the sun and laid down for an hour and a half while drinking a couple of liters of sports drinks. Next year I will be better prepared and bring a proper parasol. More photos to come! Oh, and if you think the writing of my last post was strange, it’s because I was still suffering from pretty deep brain fry when I wrote it.


16 Responses

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  1. lilichan06 said, on August 1, 2012 at 5:39 am

    I can’t get enough of these wonderful outfits !
    Thanks 😉


  2. arialuna said, on August 1, 2012 at 6:35 am

    so wonderfull photo!!!! thank you so much!


  3. Emma Reese said, on August 1, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    Poor horses! The decorations on the helmets are most interesting! They should change the days for the festival to a cooler season. The riders and the horses might have a heat stroke!


    • tokyobling said, on August 12, 2012 at 4:57 pm

      Yes, someone once gave me a long lecture on the meaning of the different helmet decorations but I forgot (stupid me). I totally agree, can we please make a mini festival in winter? (^-^;) But it’s difficult to change something that’s been going on for hundreds of years…


  4. pk1154 said, on August 1, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    Those young boys are so sweet. Those old fellows must be tough as nails!

    I can sympathize with the burden of being so heavily dressed in the hot sun, as for the last six years I wear sun-protective clothing at all times when outdoors, even when the temperature is 40. I am able to take frequent rests, but I know how easy it is to become overheated. (I surpassed my limits at least once this summer; my blood pressure became dangerously low.)

    Intrepid Photographer, please take care! Do remember to bring that parasol next time, and start drinking before you feel faint!


    • tokyobling said, on August 12, 2012 at 5:01 pm

      Thank you! I will def. bring a huge parasol, there’s was hardly enough shade that day to cover a stamp. I did dress up but I only prolonged the inevitable over heating… (^-^;)


  5. Timi said, on August 1, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    Ah horses! I just came back from vacation, where there were 3 of them, one of those was named “Gentleman” 😀
    By the way, I love those costumes as well *-*


    • tokyobling said, on August 12, 2012 at 5:02 pm

      Lucky you! I am seriously considering a long long long vacation on a horse farm… we’ll see what happens! (^-^;)


  6. C said, on August 1, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    In the third picture, is that blond the color of the mane, or a wig? I’m not a horse person so wouldn’t know…very cool, regardless.

    And +1 to pk1154. Your health is more important than getting *the* shot(s). I’d also suggest a “kool tie”, which lowers your body temp ~4 degrees (F). It keeps me from brain fry in desert envrionments (although if I wear one with a polo, people have joked that I look like a flight attendant. It could be worse!) and is fine in humidity too.


    • tokyobling said, on August 12, 2012 at 5:05 pm

      I think that is the actual mane! Very cool/cute! I do wear a tenugui during summer, but it wasn’t good enough for that day… should have had a huge parasol! A flight attendant is nice. I’ve been told worse (Wicked Witch, etc.) (^-^;)


  7. emiliejewellery said, on August 2, 2012 at 10:09 am

    fantastic photography, and the colours are stunning! xx


  8. Carrie said, on August 10, 2012 at 2:47 am

    What magnificent horses and riders. After the tsunami last year I wasn’t sure this festival would happen again. I’m so glad they decided to have it.


    • tokyobling said, on August 12, 2012 at 6:06 pm

      Thanks for the comment Carrie! Yes, the festival last year was a mere shadow of its normal self, this year though was full on! The city itself looked much like I saw it in March last year, no earthquake damage and no tsunami damage except closer to the coast, but with very few people. I think they will pull through! (^-^)


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