2014 / 07 / 14
Nahchi’s Fire Festival is one of the Japan’s three largest fire festivals, and is held on July 14th, at the Kumano Mountains in Wakayama prefecture, which is designated as a World Heritage Site.
This festival is held as a religious service that symbolizes the Kumano’s 12 deities’ visit from the Great Kumano Nachi Shrine to the Nachi Waterfall once a year, carried by ogi (fan) mikoshi. The festival starts by a religious ritual called Omae at the Great Nachi Shrine.
Traditional music and dance called Mai are performed. Such music and dance include Nachi Denraku, Nachi’s traditional musical play which is one of the National Important Intangible Folk Cultural Properties.
After that, the 12 red ogi mikoshi, in which the Kumano’s deities are placed, and are decorated with ogi fans and mirrors, are shouldered by men and depart from the Great Nachi Shrine while heading for the waterfall.
In front of the 12 mikoshi, men wearing white clothing and Eboshi hats carry big flaming torches which weigh 50kg each.
After arriving at the waterfall, a religious ceremony, namely Ogi-home, is held, and ogi mikoshi are displayed in front of the waterfall.