Both in Japan and in Bavaria there are traditional festivals with horses. In this post I show some of my photos and give brief information about the festivals in Tokyo, Kamakura, Kyoto, Bad Toelz and Munich. To see more than 100 photos (mostly from Oktoberfest 2016) please visit the gallery.

1. Kanda Matsuri in Tokyo:
Always in May, the second largest shrine festival with 70 carrying shrines takes place in Tokyo. In the procession through the streets also riders from Soma (nearby Fukushima) participate  with their beautiful horses. Horse lovers visiting to Northern Japan in late July should see the “Soma Nomaoi”. It is probably the largest equestrian festival in Japan and unfortunately I have not yet managed to take part there.

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2. Aoi Matsuri in Kyoto:
Last year in mid-May I was visiting to Kyoto and could luckily get hold of a good photo position during Aoi Matsuri. In this parade participate about 500 people, who are dressed in the style of the Heian period (794-1185). There are also some Mounted Samurai and high clergy. Heavy carts are incidentally taken in this move not by horses but by oxen. In the history of Japan it was only Samurai reserved to ride horses.

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3. Leonhardiritt in Bad Tolz:
“Leonhardifahrt” or “Leonhardiritt” is a procession with horses, an old tradition in Bavaria. It takes place in Bad Toelz, but also other places in honor of St. Leonhard of Limoges mostly on November 6 every year. Leonhard is the patron saint of agricultural animals (today mainly horses) that are blessed in the pilgrimage. The horses used to play a significant role as pack animals and work for the rural population.

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4. Customs Parade at Oktoberfest Munich:
Every first Sunday at Oktoberfest in Munich there is a big parade with traditional Customs and also many horses. In former times the horses were used to carry the heavy barrels of beer from the breweries, which were all located inside the city center of Munich, to the Theresienwiese, where the Oktoberfest is taking place. This year I took the chance to practice with my new camera (Canon 5D Mark IV).

Custom Parade at Oktoberfest 2016 in Munich, Bavaria Custom Parade at Oktoberfest 2016 in Munich, Bavaria Custom Parade at Oktoberfest 2016 in Munich, Bavaria