Dispersing evils sprits on horseback at Hakodate Hachiman Shrine

The annual horseback worshipping, in which native Hokkaido horses known as dosanko are ridden into Hakodate Hachiman Shrine, took place on January 2. However, because of the spread of the Covid-19 virus, only one horse was used this year instead of the five used last year, and the number of observing worshippers was approximately 100, less than half the usual number.

This was the 23rd year the event, organized by the local horse-riding club ‘Hakodate Dosanko Farm’ had taken place. Dressed in a yabusame (horseback archery) costume, chairman Ikeda took the reins to climb the 134 stone steps while other worshippers took photos. After taking part in a purification ritual in the shrine’s main hall, Ikeda said “We cannot allow the traditional Japanese culture of horseback worshipping to be disrupted. Hopefully, the evil spirit of Covid-19 will be eradicated soon.”


Hakodate Hachiman Shrine