Located in the northernmost tip of Isenokuni and built in the latter half of the 5th century, the Tado Taisha Shrine houses the gods of the Tado Mountain who are said to watch over the rains and harvests. It is said that “Ageuma divine service” of Tado Festival started in the period of the Northern and Southern Dynasties. However it was laid waste by fire in 1571.
Designated one of Mie Prefecture’s Intangible Cultural Properties in 1978, the annual Tado Festival, also known as Ageuma, dates back over 1,000 years and is used to predict the state of the coming harvest. The exciting festival takes place during Japan’s Golden Week holiday period, May 4th and 5th alongside the Tado Shrine in the city of Kuwana. Hundreds of food stalls and entertainments surround the spacious shrine catering to the expected 80 to 90 thousand strong crowds.
Dressed in samurai attire, the riders race their horses along the narrow alleyway alongside Kuwana City’s ancient Tado Shrine and up the steep, muddy slope to where a two-meter high earthen wall awaits. Thousands of people lining the slope roar their approval and urge the riders on as the horses kick up the dirt and strain to maintain momentum before finally making an attempt to jump the wall. Not all are successful.