“The Chagu Chagu Umakko Club consists of people involved in parade events, and those who raise horses. In the past, workhorses played a vital role in cultivating fields, but nowadays, most plowing is done by tractor. While the advent of technology seems to have enriched human life, the reality is that the more convenient life becomes, the more the contours of local culture and tradition fade.

To preserve the tradition of Chagu Chagu Umakko, the club engages in activities such as breeding workhorses, passing down handling and costume making skills, and organizing events to bring horses closer to the community.”

The Issues We Face

Raising workhorses involves various expenses such as feed costs, health management such as treatment and hoof trimming, transportation to pastures or event venues, costs for facilities and accommodations, and expenses for breeding. Although workhorses are often perceived as small, they are actually twice the size of thoroughbreds, requiring handlers with high levels of skill to lead them. These are some of the reasons that we see a decreasing number of horses participating in Chagu Chagu Umakko each year.

Bringing People and Horses Together

In addition to the June Chagu Chagu Umakko event, various other events organized by the club are also held to provide people of all ages with opportunities to experience equestrian culture firsthand.

Umakko Events

Every year on New Year’s day, the Chagu Chagu Umakko hatsumode (first shrine visit of the year) takes place, where participants visit the starting point of the Chagu Chagu Umakko parade, Onikoshi Sozen Shrine in Takizawa. Training sessions are also held to gather horse owners together and pass on techniques, and in December of 2023, an event was organized for children to take part in horse-led snow tube sledding.

In late May of 2023, an event was held where farm horses participating in the parade and local residents could come together. Participants had the opportunity to experience shirokaki, which involves leveling rice fields with water before planting, as well as basori, or horse-drawn sleighs.

Costume Making Experience

The costumes worn by the Umakko horses are all handmade from linen, and while members of the Umakko club put their heart and soul into making each one, there are also events where the general public can experience costume making for free (materials cost extra).

As part of local events, there are plans for interactive festivals where people can engage with the Umakko horses, and efforts to promote Chagu Chagu Umakko will continue in the future as well.

Message from Mr. Kikuchi, President of the Nanbu Morioka Chagu Chagu Umakko Club

Chagu Chagu Umakko is a festival that wishes for the well-being and good health of workhorses. We are committed to preserving the unique culture surrounding horses in this region because we do not want to lose it. To increase opportunities for people to interact with workhorses, we organize and participate in events while continuing activities to ensure that workhorses can thrive. We ask for, and deeply appreciate, your support in preserving Chagu Chagu Umakko for the future.