Soma Nomaoi back with full bleachers
In the Soma region of Fukushima Prefecture they celebrate summer with a festival said to date back to the Heian Period (794–1185). After a slimmed-down version last year due to coronavirus precautions, the festival was back at full strength this year. The highlight, on July 30, was a horse race between banner-wielding riders in ancient costumes. Organizers launched flags in the air, and competitors dressed as samurai fought to retrieve them. The Soma festival is designated as an important intangible folk cultural property of the country.