Samurai Horse Riders Compete at Traditional Festival in Fukushima Pref.; Festival Moved Up 2 Months Due to Heat

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Mounted samurai gallop around a course in Minami-Soma, Fukushima Prefecture, on Sunday.

MINAMI-SOMA, Fukushima — Hundreds of mounted riders dressed as samurai galloped across fields and racecourses during the Soma Nomaoi traditional festival in the Soma region of Fukushima Prefecture on Sunday.

With swords at their waists and battle flags on their backs, the riders looked as if they rode out of a historical film.

The riders galloped around a 1.2-kilometer circular course, then fought for flags launched by fireworks on grassy fields.

Until last year, the festival was held in July. However, it was moved up two months to avoid the heat. A total of 33,000 attendees, 5,000 more than last year, came to the venue to applaud the heroic display of samurai and horses working in unison.