The Yawata-uma horse figurine is a traditional local craft with a history of over 700 years. Also called ‘Hachinohe horses’, the Yawata-uma is one of Japan’s Migoma or top-three traditional wooden horse styles, and as they bring good luck, they are often given as mementos of celebrations such as weddings and new buildings.
These horse figurines can be found all over the Hachinohe Area, from roadside signs to temple grounds. Just like centuries ago, the horses remain one of the most popular and iconic souvenirs of Hachinohe and can be purchased at most souvenir shops, like those found in the Hachinohe Portal Museum hacchi and the Youtree building next to the Hachinohe Station. Yawatama-uma traditionally come in as a pair of horses, one black and one red, but nowadays there is quite a creative range that you can choose from.
Additionally, instead of just buying a set of Yawata-uma, you can decorate your own! The Nejo Castle Site offers a unique experience where you can paint and place patterns on Yawata-uma figurines, creating a set of horses just for you. The experience costs 1,500 yen, and takes about 30 minutes, making it a great activity to do with kids, as a couple, or simply by yourself. By the end of the experience, you will have two great and very unique souvenirs to remember the Hachinohe area.