This summer, you have to go to Kansai for this Nachi Fire Festival(Matsuri) in Wakayama Pref. of West Japan!
My impression to Matsuri(festivals)
Nachi-no-Ogi-Matsuri Festival (Nachi Fire Festival), held on 14 July each year, is one of the three largest fire festivals of Japan.
When it is summer time, there are tons of festivals and fireworks events in held in Japan. Although I am not a big fan of Japanese traditional culture, I will still grab the opportunities to take place in such events if they meet the date of my trip.
In fact, I guess not much people will be interested in these kinds of events. It can be very crowded at the venue, and after all, I am sure that most of us did not make any research on the events so it turns out we don’t really understand what’s happening about the whole festival after we watched it.
However, the Matsuri in Japan are still being very attractive to me. Especially when it is summer time, our mood seems to be synced to the seasonal nature transformation and becoming more outgoing. Yes, it is crowded at the Matsuri, but the atmosphere there is really fascinating and exciting to me.
While going on a trip is all about having fun. It’s a good way to have fun just by taking place in a Matsuri and you don’t even have to pay a single dollar for it. So, why not ?
Nachi Fire Festival in Wakayama Pref. of Kansai(West Japan)
I still remember, on that day, I arrive 1 hour earlier than the stated time just for getting a closer look to the Matsuri. There were hundreds of tourists standing beside the main stair. Behind me it’s the 133-meters-high waterfall. And in front of me it’s strong men holding 50-kg torches running down the stair. Everyone was excited, cheering for the men. The atmosphere was just so good.
Yes , It’s true that the glamor of Japan is not just about the metropolitan thing like Tokyo, nor all those gourmet and seafood, but more like it’s about the traditions, cultures and Arts of Japan.
Here it is. I am going to show you my route and arriving time on that day for your reference.
Date of the trip: 14/7/2017
Time I stayed:4 hours
Access: Takes 30mins by bus fromKii-Katsuura紀伊勝浦station/Nachi 那智 station(Please refers to the transportation information at the end)
↑Read the following contents with this map
Official map of Kumano Nachi Taisha Grand Shrine：http://kumanonachitaisha.or.jp/common/files/pavilion.pdf
08:23 – 09:39 Take the train from Kumano to Kii-Katsuurastation
Kii-Katsuura紀伊勝浦 is very small town. Most of the shops and restaurant have not opened yet in the morning. So I don’t get many choices and I just find a Cafe randomly nearby called「果樹園」for my breakfast.
Pizza toast set ¥1000
11:05 Take the bus to the Matsuri venue
After having my breakfast, it’s time to get on the bus by 11:05 at the bus stop outside the train station.
11:30 Walk up the stair to the venue
After getting off the bus stop which I indicate on the map above, you can see the entrance on the way where the bus coming from. Walk up the stair and you will be arriving the venue 1 of the Matsuri.
Actually it’s been raining since the morning of that day. I saw some filming team walking down and wrapping their gears with plastics. I doubted if the festival was going to be cancelled.
Anyway, let’s first go to the top and see what’s going on.
11:45 Watch other activities of the festivals
Arrives the venue 1 on the above map. Activities other than the fire Matsuri have already started, e.g.大和舞、那智の田楽.
After that I took a walk nearby. Actually, it’s a very pleasant countryside place worth to come even when it’s not a festival day.
I heard that it’s even more beautiful when it comes to Spring, the Cherry Blossom season.
It was a rainy but thanks for that, it madea mysterious fog surrounding the mountain top.
But there was not much places to explore. You can take a look at the viewpoint that I marked on the map. where you can take a photo of both Nachi waterfall and三重塔.
13:00 Arriving the venue of fire festival
The activities of the festivals take place in different venue which are slightly apart from each other. While the “real” fire festival is held inHiroujinjya飛瀧神社(Nachi Waterfall那智の滝), venue 2 on the map.
The fire festival starts at 14:00. But I arrive at 13:00 just for getting a closer location to watch the festival and tke pictures.
You can go to restaurants nearby which I marked on map for lunch first. But I go straight and headed to the venue to wait for the festival to start.
14:00 The fire festival started
It turned out that I really did get very close to the performers. It was just a few meters from them. I can even felt the heat of torches. I saw some Japanese people used their hand to touch the torches(maybe it means something LOL) and I did the same thing. It was fun.
15:00 Returning to train station
After the fire festival, there were still activities of the festival continued but most people will not stay to watch them. And then you can follow them to get to the exit. After that, just get back to the bus stop where you got off in the morning.
On the way there are souvenir shops, feel free to going inside and take a look. Don’t worry about if there will be long lane waiting for the bus. Coz many people are driving by themselves to come.
Moreover, the convention has arranged buses to get visitors back to train station. You can get on one of them when you see the word 紀伊勝浦 or 那智 station is showing on the front of it.
The “real” fire festival activity starts at 14:00 on that day. If you are coming from Osaka. It takes 5hrs for train and bus transportation time. It means you have to go out before 8:00 in the morning.
Therefore, if you don’t want to be rushing, or wish to explore the places nearby before the fire festival, I suggest staying in town near 紀伊勝浦 or 那智 station for the night before that. I chose to stay in Kumano town. Maybe I will write an article about that later.
On the day of fire festival, buses operate as usuals. But they just stops at 那智山 (a bus stop near the venue). You can refer to official sites for most up-to-date information.
Kumano Nachi Taisha Grand Shrine熊野那智大社:http://kumanonachitaisha.or.jp/event/例大祭（那智の扇祭り）/