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Regions of Japan

Hokkaido Tohoku Hokuriku
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Kanto Tokai Kansai Chugoku Shikoku Kyushu Okinawa Islands SAPPORO TOKYO NAGOYA OSAKA FUKUOKA FURANO KUSHIRO AOMORI SENDAI FUKUSHIMA NIKKO HAKONE SADO TAKAYAMA KANAZAWA ISE KYOTO NARA HIROSHIMA NAGASAKI KAGOSHIMA NAHA
Hokkaido
Hokkaido
  • Hokkaido
Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush
Tohoku
Tohoku
  • Aomori
  • Akita
  • Iwate
  • Yamagata
  • Miyagi
  • Fukushima
Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare
Kanto
Kanto
  • Tokyo
  • Kanagawa
  • Chiba
  • Saitama
  • Ibaraki
  • Tochigi
  • Gunma
Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife
Tokai
Tokai
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan
Kansai
Kansai
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara
Chugoku
Chugoku
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower
Shikoku
Shikoku
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving
Kyushu
Kyushu
  • Fukuoka
  • Saga
  • Nagasaki
  • Oita
  • Kumamoto
  • Miyazaki
  • Kagoshima
The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky
Okinawa
Okinawa
  • Okinawa
Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings

Festivals & Events

Chagu Chagu Umakko Festival チャグチャグ馬コ

Gorgeous horses and ringing bells at the Chagu Chagu Umakko Festival

The beautiful sound of ringing bells takes over Morioka during the Chagu Chagu Umakko Festival in June. Watch as 100 horses clad in brightly colored harnesses and bells parade from Takizawa to Morioka with small children mounted on their backs.

Don't Miss

  • The festival as it gets started in Takizawa
  • The costumes, which are made by individual households

How to Get There

The festival is accessible by shuttle from JR Morioka Station.

Take the Tohoku Shinkansen to Morioka Station. From there, a special shuttle bus is available on the day of the festival from bus terminal 16 in front of the station.

Beast of burden

Since ancient times, Iwate Prefecture has been well-known for horse breeding. Human and animal have always lived in harmony in Iwate, often under the same roof.

The Chagu Chagu Umakko Festival began about 200 years ago so that farmers could give their horses a day off after the rigors of rice-planting and so they could pray for their health at the shrine.

Follow the historic path

To get a feel for what the festival was like 200 years ago, make a trip to Takizawa. The horses depart from Onikoshi-Sozen Shrine, dedicated to the deity of horses, and head for Hachiman Shrine in Morioka.

Bells, bells, bells

During the festival, the sound of bells takes over the city. Every time a horse takes a step forward, the bells ring "chagu chagu," hence the name of the festival.

The horses are adorned with up to 700 bells. One of the more unique bells is the donut-shaped bell around the horse's neck; originally it was used to ward off wolves.

A horse at the festival decorated with bells

Meeting the stars

There are two resting points where you can mingle with the horses, feed them carrots, take pictures and admire their costumes and bells. Just remember to never stand behind a horse, use a flash, or make a loud noise, as these actions could startle it.

A horse taking a break

After the festival is over, you can check out Hachiman Shrine, Iwate Park or one of the many other sights in Morioka.

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