Takahama Omanto Matsuri

Kasuga-cho, Takahama City, Aichi


Kasuga-Jinja - Yatsurugisha, Kasuga-cho, Takahama City, Aichi
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First Saturday and Sunday of October


Takahama-city Tourism Association

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Takahama-city Tourism Association


Takahama Omanto Festival is a powerful and lively festival. Young people wearing the happi coat and jikatabi (cloth footgear) jump on to horses saddled with bells and artificial flowers. In fact, the young people, with their bare hands, try to jump on the horses again and again, even if shaken off. The horses gallop at approximately 40 km/h around the ring. “Omanto” is held in some places in Takahama City and the Chita Gulf area. In particular, the Omanto at Kasuga Shrine/Yatsurugi Shrine is especially magnificent. This Omanto festival has been designated a Takahama City Intangible Cultural Property. (The festival is held on the first Sunday of October every year and the preceding Saturday.)

On the day before the festival, the young generation of each town walk with horses to encourage people to come to the festival. It is a spectacular view as they walk while ringing bells throughout the towns where Onigawara (gargoyles) made from Sanshu-gawara (special local tiles) are located in many places. In addition, an essential signature of the “Omanto festival,” the Ohayashi (festival music accompaniment) called “Charaboko” is played on taiko drums and flutes and creates a more exciting mood in the town.

The history of the festival in the Takahama district is recognized as having started around 1803 in the late Edo era. At the time, the festival seemed deeply involved in the rain making rituals. Even today, a ceremony to pray for rain and fishing is performed for Ryugu, a sea and water god (Shinto), on the first day of the “Omanto Festival.” People and horses participating in the festival are splashed with a little sea water to exorcise evil spirits from them. This ceremony is called “Ryugu Festival.” Since many of the sacred horses are the black horses dedicated to the rain making rituals, the “Omanto Festival” has been shown to be deeply involved in praying for rain.

The word “Omanto” is considered to have been derived from the ceremony “Uma-no-To (the leading horse)” including two ceremonies. One, “Kazariuma Hono,” dedicates the horse with the decorative harness back to the temple, while the other ceremony is “Hashiriuma,” to run the horse in the ring.

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