We arrived in Fukushima City on Saturday evening July 28 and stayed near the station at the Mets Hotel. A few blocks away are numerous shops and restaurants and we found Izakaya Kuishimbo a great place for dinner. Returning to the hotel we ran into Mas Yatabe from Portland entering the lobby and we determined our departure time for Sunday morning by bus to Minami-Soma for the Wild Horse Festival.
At 6 am on Sunday Chris, Mas and I, after waiting for extra buses to arrive for the couple of bus loads of tourists for the festival finally headed out over a winding road across the wooded hills from Fukushima City to Minami-Soma. There were signs of festivities as we entered the town and saw Samurai on horses making there way towards the parade route. From City Hall we were led a few blocks to the beautful old home of Former Mayor Monma from where we watched the parade pass by the front gate.
Here we also met Senator Masako Mori who represents Fukushima in the House of Councillors and has been an outspoken critic of the government’s management of the disaster.
Senator Mori spoke to us about some of the people in the parade who had lost their loved ones, their homes, their horses, and yet had returned to ride on borrowed horses and in memory of the families and community they knew before the disaster.
The Samurai on horse began to clop along past us on the paved street and stop to greet Senator Mori. The photos tell the story.
After the parade we were off to the races! And then Capture the Flag!