Festivals & Events
The stretch of stone staircase that leads visitors to the Grand Shrine of Kumano Nachi-taisha down to the roaring Nachi Falls is generally a descent taken slowly while enjoying the lush natural surroundings. Not so on July 14th, however, as the stone stairs are roaring with flame in the annual Nachi Fire Festival.
The Grand Shrine of Kumano Nachi-taisha is located in Nachi mountain which can be accessed by bus from the train staions nearby.
Jump on the bus at Kii-Katsuura Station and ride 30 minutes until the Nachisan stop. The stop before Nachisan is Nachi-no-Taki-mae, the stop for Nachi Falls. Alternatively, take the bus from Shingu station and after 15minutes, get off at Jinja Otera-mae.
The festival - known locally as Nachi-no-Ogi - is a purification ritual that climaxes in twelve portable shrines in the shape of the falls being set ablaze. Flaming torch bearers all dressed in white are to be found scurrying up and down the steps wielding their flaming beacons amid religious chanting and thick smoke.
The festival is one of the most dramatic and famous festivals in the region, if not the whole country. Like most festivals, large crowds tend to gather so getting to the site early is always recommended. The festivities start at 11:00 with the main event around 14:00.