Nomakake, the last event for Soma-nomaoi Festival at Odaka, July 29, 2019. (野馬懸、相馬野馬追の最後の日です、2019年7月29日。)

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(Driving a bare horse at Nomakake, Odaka, July 29, 2019. 野馬懸の野馬追 小高 7/29/2019)
Today I was one of the large spectators at Nomakake, the last day event for 3-day Soma-nomaoi Festival in Soma region. Nomakake retains the very original style of the Soma-nomaoi, which was originated in military exercise in 900’s started by ancestors of Soma clan. At that time, wild horses were released as mock enemy. Today, three unsaddled horses were once released, one at a time, and then several mounted horsemen drove the horse into a corral in front of Soma Odaka Shrine. After all the three horses were driven into the corral, then several men, called Okobito, wearing white Shinto clothing and headband tried to catch the horses with their bare hands. Once the horse was captured, then it was offered to the shrine, where guardian god for Soma clan was enshrined. Photo above shows a horseman leading a bare white horse along a slope toward the corral.
本日は、相馬野馬追の最後のイベント、野馬懸を見ました。野馬懸は、900年代に相馬家の祖先が始めた相馬野馬追の原型を残している行事です。当時、軍事訓練で野馬を敵に見立てたのが始まりです。今日では、3頭の野馬が1頭ずつ放たれ、騎馬武者達が小高神社前の敷地に追い込みます。そのあと、白装束と白はちまきをした「御小人」達が、素手で野馬を捕まえようとします。捕らえられた馬は、相馬家の氏神が祀られている神社に奉納されます。写真は、騎馬武者が白い野馬を導いて坂を登る姿です。

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(Conch shell horn blowers at Nomakake, Odaka, July 29, 2019. 野馬懸 の ホラ貝吹き 小高 7/29/2019)
Right before the horse driving began, conch shell horn blowers, as shown above, came in the middle of the slope to signal a start. You may see the closer view of the conch shell here.
馬の追い込みが始まる直前には、写真のように、ホラ貝吹きが坂の中間にきて、合図の準備をします。ホラ貝の形がよく見えます。

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After the bare horse led by a mounted horseman, several chaser horsemen followed, as shown above, running up the hill.
野馬の後には、写真のように、数人の騎馬武者が追って駆け上がってきます。

By watching a short footage below, you may feel the atmosphere of the scene of driving a horse up the hill. This was of the second horse drive.
下の極短いビデオを見ると、野馬を追い込むシーンの雰囲気が少しわかると思います。
これは、2番目の野馬でした。


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In the last drive, an unsaddled horse chased by mounted horsemen from behind barely crashed into spectators’ area as shown above. (No one was injured.)
最後の野馬の場合は、写真のように見物客の極近くまで迫り、危ういところでした。(問題ありませんでした。)

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(Chasing bare horses at Nomakake, Odaka, July 29, 2019. 野馬懸 の 野馬追 小高 7/29/2019)
Photo above was a scene that three horses driven into the field in front of the shrine are trying to escape from Okobito men in white shrine suits trying to catch them.
写真は、3頭の野馬が神社前の囲い敷地で、白装束の「御小人」達に捕まえられないように、逃げている場面です。

And here is a very short video that a young Okobito man tried to catch a horse but finally failed at this time. You may feel the atmosphere.
下の極短いビデオでは、1人の御小人が野馬を捕らえかけましたが、最後は失敗しました。雰囲気がわかると思います。


During the first and second days of Soma-nomaoi Festival, I attended a group as a translator. But the last day was free and I stayed overnight there and visited this event for the first time. The event venue was Soma Odaka Shrine which was located 20-minute walk from JR Odaka Station.
相馬野馬追の最初の2日は、あるグループの通訳ガイドでした。しかし、最終日はフリーとなり野馬懸を初めて見ました。会場は、JR小高駅から徒歩20分の相馬小高神社です。
(お客の数は、前日より減りましたが、会場ぎっしりでした。)

The exact route and locations are shown in the map below. The map can be scaled up and down with a click and scroll. GPS data for a part of the section from Odaka Station was missing due to slow detection of my GPS device, so I added a line on the map.
ルートと場所は、下の地図を参照ください。地図は、クリックとスクロールで、拡大・縮小が可能です。但し、小高駅から少しの間、GPSデータが無く(機械の反応が遅く)地図上に線で補足しました。
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Buddhist priest Tokuitsu and restored Yakushinyorai statue at Enichiji Temple, June 22, 2019. (徳一と慧日寺薬師如来 2019年6月22日)

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(Yakushinyorai at Enichiji Temple, Bandai, June 22, 2019. 慧日寺 の 薬師如来 磐梯町 6/22/2019)
Today I visited Enichiji Temple site and learned about Buddhist priest Tokuitsu, who founded the temple in 807, and Yakushinyorai or Buddha of healing which was the main image of the temple. Yakushinyorai statue was built in the very beginning of the temple foundation but has been burnt or damaged several times since then by fire and civil war. It has been restored every time it suffered a damage and the last fire was in 1872 when most of the body was burnt. Last year in 2018 the statue was restored again as close as possible to the original one at early 800’s. The photo above shows the current restored statue which was designed to look as it was when it was first built.
本日は、磐梯町にある慧日寺跡で、このお寺を807年に開基した徳一とお寺の本尊である薬師如来について学びました。この薬師如来は、創建時からありましたが、その後度重なる火事や戦火で被災し、その度に再建されますが、最後は1872年(明治5年)に焼けました。昨年、800年代初期の創建時に限りなく近い形で再建され、写真のようになっています。

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Tokuitsu was a high-ranking Buddhist priest who lived between late 700’s and early 800’s. He learnt Hosso sect of Buddhism at Kofukuji Temple in Nara Prefecture, also known as a world heritage site. Nara, in the western part of Japan, was the political center at that time. But during his young age he started to move eastward aiming to spread Buddhism mainly in Ibaraki and Fukushima Prefectures. Photo above, which was a display at the site, shows a replica statue of Tokuitsu with a spearhead like thing at the bottom left. This thing was called “Sankosho” which was a rare treasure at that time made from cupronickel and was the evidence of highly respected person. Enichiji Temple was the center of Aizu Buddhism but he also established about 90 temples in Fukushima, Ibaraki and surrounding prefectures. Shojoji Temple was the most valuable one with many national treasures and important assets preserved to this date. Sitting statue of Tokuitsu made in 12th century was one of them.
徳一は、700年代中期から800年代初期(奈良時代中期から平安初期)に生きた高僧で、奈良の興福寺(世界遺産)で法相宗を学びました。その後、若いうちに仏教を広めようと東の方に向かい茨城と福島およびその周辺で活動しました。写真は、慧日寺資料館の展示にあったもので、徳一像(レプリカ)と三鈷杵(さんこしょ)が左下に置かれています。白銅製の三鈷杵は、当時の貴重な宝物で高僧の証となります。慧日寺は会津仏教の中心地でしたが、徳一はこの他にも、福島や茨城を中心に90ものお寺を建てています。その中でも、会津の湯川村にある勝常寺は、国宝や重文が多く残っており、極めて重要です。12世紀に作られた徳一座像もその1つです。

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Today I attended a class held at the site where a curator of Fukushima Prefectural Museum gave us a lecture on the history of Tokuitsu and the spread of Buddhism in Aizu region. Some of the explanation panels on Tokuitsu and Yakushinyorai Buddha at Enichiji Temple were on display at the site as shown above. Enichiji site is located about 20-minute walk from JR Bandaimachi Station.
本日は、会場となった慧日寺跡で、福島県立博物館の学芸員の方の「徳一と会津の仏教美術」のお話がありました。写真は、会場の説明パネルのいくつかです。慧日寺跡は、JR磐梯町駅から徒歩20分です。

The exact route and locations are shown in the map below. The map can be scaled up and down with a click and scroll.
ルートと場所は、下の地図を参照ください。地図は、クリックとスクロールで、拡大・縮小が可能です。
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The last Takizakura view of Heisei era, April 22, 2019. (三春滝桜 平成最後の見納め 2019年4月22日。)

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(Takizakura cherry tree, Miharu, April 22, 2019. 三春滝桜 4/22/2019)
Today I visited Miharu Takizakura, a gigantic cherry tree in Miharu Town. It has been in full bloom since April 17th and was in the last moment of its bloom. Sakura petals already flew in the air as the wind blew. Photo above was a view of the tree as of today. This tree, being designated as a national natural monument, is unquestionably the greatest cherry tree in Japan, even on this planet. I would appreciate all the local people who had protected, preserved, and taken care of over the past 1000 years. I’m looking forward to seeing Takizakura blossoms for Reiwa era next year.
三春滝桜を見に行きました。先週の4月17日から満開になっていて、今日が最後の見納めです(写真)。風が吹くと、花吹雪になっています。国の天然記念物に指定されていて、まさに日本一、世界一の桜です。千年以上にわたり、地元の方が保護し世話を続けたお蔭です。来年も、令和の滝桜を期待しています。

The nearest JR station is Miharu of Ban-etsu East Line. The seasonal shuttle bus ended yesterday for this season. Please come and see the tree next year.
最寄りの駅は、JR磐越東線の三春になります。今年のシャトルバスは昨日で終了したので、また来年、令和の滝桜を見にいらしてください。(私は近くなので、チャリで来ました。)

The exact route and locations are shown in the map below. The map can be scaled up and down with a click and scroll.
ルートと場所は、下の地図を参照ください。地図は、クリックとスクロールで、拡大・縮小が可能です。
20190422三春滝桜 (560x420)
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A man who loves Fukushima (福島大好きおじさん)

Author:A man who loves Fukushima (福島大好きおじさん)
Local guide for Fukushima (English)(福島地域通訳案内士(英語))
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