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Festival

Kohata's Hata Festival

Nationally designated Important Intangible Folk Cultural Property

Kohata's Hata Festival

Overview

While the sound of magnificent wooden conchs reverberates in the Abukuma mountain range, colorful flags, with white flags in the advance, traverse the mountain while spreading out under blue skies and it is indeed a grand sight.

This festival is said to be one of the three major flag festivals in Japan, boasting a tradition of over 960 years of age and it is becoming a feature of early winter held on the first Sunday of December every year.

Origin

The origin of the festival is 1055.

About 960 years ago from today during the "zenkunen no eki" war, the forces led by Yoriyoshi Minamoto and his son Yoshiie was sent to repress the Michinoku rebellion, but was defeated by the Abe regional clan at the time and rested with a few mounted warriors at local farmers. Then, that night, a celestial woman appeared in a dream and gave a divine message that "If you pray at the Benzaiten Shrine, your wish will come true."Yoriyoshi and his son, who were prepared for defeat, prayed for victory at the shrine in accordance with the dream whereupon, that evening, the groves atop the mountains appeared to be the "white flags" of Minamoto due to the snow at that time and the forces of the attacking of Sadato Abe and others withdrew without fighting thinking that these flags were the flags of a large Minamoto force.

This became the cause of the pacification of Michinoku (currently Fukushima) and upon a report of this being made at the Imperial Court, the emperor named the mountain "Mt. Kohata," and named theBetto-jiin (a temple attached to a shrine)at the foothill of the mountain as “Jirokuji" Temple (the temple that reigns over Michinoku) and Emperor Goreizei sent a framed work of Japanese calligraphy in his own hand.

After that, the "Kohata no Hata Festival" has continued for over 950 years, with local people who deeply believe in the protection of Buddha and the Shinto gods, handing down the magnificent Heian picture scroll donated to another mountain shrine, Hayama Shrine, and the white flags of the Minamoto army on the Mt. Kohata. This has continued up to today and the festival was designated as "Nationally designated Important Intangible Folk Cultural Property" in 2005 and is a festival rich with tradition.

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