The stone staircase that leads visitors to the Grand Shrine of Kumano Nachi-taisha in Wakayama down to roaring Nachi Falls is generally taken slowly while enjoying the lush natural surroundings.
Not so on July 14, however, as the stone stairs are roaring with flame in the annual Nachi Fire Festival.
- Watching the torch-bearers dressed in white scurry up and down the steps wielding their flaming beacons amid religious chanting and thick smoke
- Exploring the grand shrine and the falls
Purify the spirit
Known locally as Nachi-no-Ogi, this festival is a purification ritual that climaxes with 12 portable shrines in the shape of the falls being set ablaze.
This is one of the most dramatic and famous festivals in the region, if not the whole country.