The Chagu-Chagu-Umako Fesival is a parade that begins at Onikoshi-souzen Shrine in Takizawa and finishes at Hachiman Shrine in Morioka, Iwate Prefecture.
The festival is held on the second Saturday of June each year. About 100 local horses decorated in colorful outfits slowly parade as part of the festival.
The festival is held to pray for the safety of both people and horses, as this was traditionally a horse-breeding area. This festival goes back to feudal times when houses in the local Nanbu-Magariya style incorporated features for the excellent care of horses.
It is believed that the Chagu-Chagu-Umako Festival was originally a time to rest horses in the off-seasons, and developed into the parade seen today.
'Chagu-chagu' is the name of the bells hanging from the necks of the horses. The sound of their jingling in early summer has been selected as one of Japan's 100 scenes with sound, and has also been designated as an intangible folklore cultural asset of the nation.
Eisanji Temple overlooks the Yoshino River in Nara. It is an ancient temple that conserves the glory and eminence of the Tenpyo even today. It is said that the temple was built in 719 during the Nara period, by Muchimaro, the first-born child of Fujiwara no Fuhito.
The temple was originally called Sakiyamaji during the time that it was first constructed, but as it developed and became part of the Fujiwara family's Bondaiji temple, it was renamed Eisanji.
The main feature of the temple is without doubt the Hakakudo, which was designated as a national treasure. The Hakakudo, as one of the Endo of the Tenpyo period, is a very precious ruin on par with the Yumedono of Horyuji temple. It is said that the Hakakudo was built by Nakamaro, son of Muchimaro, in order to grieve for his father's bodai. The seated figure of the Yakushinyorai (master of healing) located within the temple is also designated as an important cultural property. Moreover, an inscription written in an Ononotou style can be seen on a bell (national treasure), which is acknowledged as one of Japan's three great bells, along with the bell of the Uji Byodoin.
Azalea and yamabuki blossom all over the grounds of the temple from the end of April to the beginning of May, creating a beautiful and vibrant scene.
Takaoka copperware is a traditional handicraft of Takaoka City in Toyama prefecture, with a history of four centuries. Fine, smooth surfaces, subtle coloring, delicate patterns and graceful shapes; these are the specialties of Takaoka copperware.
Some 400 years ago, when Maeda Toshinaga built Takaoka Castle, the 2nd Kaga domain head set up a foundry in Kanaya, today's Takaoka city, in order to ensure prosperity for the town.
At first, the main products cast in copper, other than orders from the domain, were ironware such as temple bells, garden lanterns, farming implements and kettles. After that, small copper items for Buddhist altars came to be made. In the Meiji and Taisho periods, many kinds of copperware were produced, such as braziers, items for tea ceremony and ornamental goods.
Takaoka copperware became highly prized all over Japan. In 1873, it was critically acclaimed at the World Exposition in Vienna and gained world recognition.
In Showa 50, Takaoka district was designated as a production area of a Traditional National Handicraft for the first time in Japan.
Koiji Beach, one of the beaches on the Noto Peninsula, features white sand and strange rocks that give it a 'feminine' aspect unique to the area.
The romantic name of the beach derives from a sad story of a girl's love for a young man. To enable the man to find her, the girl made a bonfire on the shore at night. Each night they met, but another young man became jealous and made the girl light a bonfire in another place near a hole. When the lover came to find the girl, he fell into the hole and died. In grief, the girl drowned herself in the sea.
Today the beach features a statue of the two lovers sitting at peace together and there is also a lucky bell. Behind these is a red torii gate to a Shinto shrine and Benten Island. The combination of the clear blue sea, white beach and red gate is very beautiful.
On 27 July every year, a fire festival is held on Koiji Beach with bonfires and fire torches that turn the night sky red.