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A nationally designated Important Intangible Cultural Property, Soma Nomaoi is still performed in the
northern part of Fukushima Prefecture’s coastal region, spanning Soma and Futaba.
Performed by hundreds of horsemen dressed in Sengoku-era costumes, Soma Nomaoi originated from a military exercise of Taira-no-Masakado in which wild horses were set free and then caught, as well as a custom of dedicating horses to Myoken Bodhisattva, a deification of the North Star and the Big Dipper.
The worship of Myoken Bodhisattva is said to have come from the worship of the North Star by West Asian nomads several thousands of years ago.