(Written by Morioka City, translated by Amanda Wayama)

The winds have begun to cool in Morioka, the largest city in Iwate Prefecture, and all through the town, you’ll start to hear the gentle chirp of flutes and the banging of drums.

Throughout all the various neighborhoods of Morioka, practice has begun for our annual Morioka Autumn Festival, a tradition passed down over 300 years of history.

The festival was started in the Edo Period (1603-1868) to celebrate Morioka becoming a city. Young people developed clever symbols called “chō-jirushi(丁印)” to represent their various neighborhoods. They then carried them on floats throughout the town surrounding the samurai castle which existed at the time. This is said to have been the start of the tradition.

This year the parade will be from September 14th (Sat) to September 16th (Mon, a national holiday). Once again, massive floats that represent famous scenes of history will be pulled by teams throughout the city, passing by buildings and houses while playing the flute and drums.

Photo: MORIOKA City Promotion Photo Book – Autumn, Winter

On the afternoon of September 14th, a parade of all the floats will be held on the street leading up to Morioka Hachimangu Shrine. This event is called “Hachimangū Kudari(八幡宮下り).” On the evening of September 15th, the floats will be brilliantly lit up and paraded down Odori Street, Morioka’s busiest street. This parade is called the “Ōdōri Ōemaki Parade(大通大絵巻パレード).”

At Hachimangu, there will be tons of street stalls set up and lots people enjoying the fall harvest. On September 16th, an event called Yabusame will be held at the shrine – this is Japanese-style horseback archery. People wearing samurai clothing ride on horses running at full speed, flying by in a cloud of dirt as they aim their arrows at their targets. This event has been run exactly the way it was 300 years ago.

Morioka’s Autumn Festival. You too will able to experience a page of Morioka’s history at this magnificent event.

How to get to Morioka Hachimangu Shrine

From Morioka Station, go to the bus terminal outside the east exit.

Take the “Chabatake-yuki (茶畑行き)” bus leaving from bus stop #5. (If in doubt, ask for Hachimangu!)

Get off at the Hachimangu-mae stop.



(MORIOKA city promotion photo book-autumn,winter-より)


(MORIOKA city promotion photo book-autumn,winter-より)