Nachi Ohgi Matsuri – a Fire Festival in Wakayama



Speaking of Nachi, local people think about waterfalls, sightseeing spots and a fire festival in summer. This article introduces you to the summer festival in Nachi Ohgi Matsuri in Wakayama prefecture, located on the south Kansai area.

About Nachi Ohgi Matsuri

Local people say Nachi fire festival because TV news shows the highlight of the festival, the Fire scene, every year. However, officially, the name is Ohgi Matsuri, which literally says the folding fan festival.
It takes place on July 14th as an annual festival. The festival means 12 gods in Kumano Nachi Grand Shrine return to Nachi waterfall which gods come from.

At the festival, 12 portable Ohgi shrines are displayed in front of the main hall of the shrine. Until noon people dedicate traditional dances to gods to entertain. Then around 2 o’clock, all portable shrines travel from the Grand Shrine to Nachi waterfall. On the way to the waterfall, 12 fire torches welcome the portable shrines. Before the portable shrines pass the way, attendees swing 50kg fire torches to purify the path for portable shrines in the forest. The scenery of swinging fire torches is so dynamic and worth to viewing.

Image courtesy of Wakayama Tourism Federation

Sightseeing Spots

Within walking distances, there is Nachi waterfall, Kumano Nachi grand shrine, and Seigantoji Buddhist temple.

Nachi Waterfall

133m waterfall is one of the top three scenic waterfall s in Japan. And it is the highest step waterfall in Japan. The waterfall itself is a Shinto shrine. So, in front of the waterfall, there is a Torii gate as the symbol of Shinto gate. You can see the Nachi waterfall from Kumano Nachi shrine.

Kumano Nachi Shrine

It is listed as Sacred Sites and pilgrimage paths in the Kii Mountains, aUNESCO world heritage site. Over 1000 years ago nobles visited this shrine from Kyoto to this area, passing over deep mountains and spending several days on their feet.

Seigantoji Temple

Until about 150 years ago, Kumano Nachi shrine and the temple rere the same compounds. So, Shinto ism and Buddhism mixed in one place. However, as the government policy is to separate Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines, Seigantoji temple fell apart. Today, the temple features three story-pagoda and attracts pilgrims by bus or taxi. The temple is also designated as a World Cultural Heritage Site.

Nachi Guro Candy for Souvenir

Speaking of Nachi waterfall, Nachi guro candy is a great souvenir. Black round shaped candy contains sugar made in Japan. And its shape comes from the black stone produced in the Kii mountains area. The black stones are used as inkstones for Japanese calligraphy.

Image courtesy of Wakayama Tourism Federation

How to Go to the Festival

From Osaka to the nearest station, Kii Katsuura
Around 3 or 4 hours on the limited express called Kuroshio, you can reach Kii Katsuura station.
From the nearest station
By 30 min. bus or 20 min. by taxi.

World Heritage Site of This Area

The festival venue is included as Sacred Sites and pilgrimage paths in the Kii Mountains of UNESCO world heritage site. It includes Mt.Koya and other spots in Kii mountains. For over 1000 years, Kii Mountains were religious are for Buddhist training and natural worship of Shinto. So, many pilgrims came to such areas. Recently, many foreign tourists also come to this area even though the location is inconvenient to come from big cities such as Kyoto and Osaka.

Closing Remarks

Nachi area attracts tourists. And the dynamic fire festival would be a good memory of your Japan’s trip, too. Though it is located in an inconvenient place, the dynamic festival and beautiful scenery would attract you!

Experience More Fire Festivals in Japan

Do you like that mystical scenes and atmosphere that fire creates in the darkness? I always loved watching the fire as it has a hypnotic effect on me. Even though there are not so many fire festivals in Japan, some of them are still taking place serving many religious purposes or victory celebrations. If you are looking forward to having some cultural experience in the dark with fire in Japan, the following article will introduce you to 10 Best Fire Festivals in Japan. Please click on the link below!


An Ultimate Idea Source for Your Kyoto Stay!

Kyoto is an old capital of Japan and a cultural and historical mecca for everyone who visits this country. It is the most popular city among tourists and a must-see destination indeed. Kyoto boasts over 4000 historical places including shrines, temples, and attracts visitors with its charming atmosphere of an ancient city. This city is great for shopping, bicycling, hiking, museums, galleries, green spaces, and features many famous festivals. In the following article, you will find 100 things and many ideas on how to spend your time in Kyoto! Please, have a look! URL:

An Ultimate Idea Source for Your Osaka Stay!

Being the third largest city in the country, Osaka is one of the major gateways of Japan. Even if it is not the main place of your destination, it would be a great idea to stay in this great city for a few days. Whether you want to go sightseeing, shopping, eating out, or trying something special that you can experience only in Japan, Osaka has it all and even something extra. In the following article, you will find 100 things to do in Osaka and many ideas on how to spend your time in the city!

Please, have a look, URL:

Would You Like to Know How to Enjoy a Japanese Festival Even More?

A lot of people when they get to a Matsuri for the first time feel a bit lost. They are confused about what is happening around. If you are new to Japanese Festivals or want to know an alternative way of how you can enjoy these events, the following article will provide you with a set of helpful tips on how to choose a proper festival and activities you should try there. Please don`t hesitate to take a look at it!


Don’t Stay Hungry at the Festival!

Image courtesy of Tomomarusan

For all foodies who enjoy Japanese Festivals would be nice to get acquainted with the rich choice offered by Yatai (Japanese festival food stalls). The food presented during Matsuri is pretty different from the one you get at the restaurants in Japan. Besides, there is a certain charm in grabbing some snack from a food stall and diving back into the festival crowd. I am sure that you will discover something new about Japanese festival food from the following article!


Did You Know That There is a Festival Every Day Somewhere in Japan?

Japan is a country of festivals indeed. Matsuri is an essential part of traditional Japanese culture. Thus, every day somewhere in Japan a festival takes place. There are traditional and modern festivals, on the sea and on the ground, in summer and winter. Japanese are hardworking people. However, when you attend at least one festival in Japan, you will understand how locals like to party. The article under the link below will introduce you to a celebration on any day of the year. I am sure you will find an event that suits your interests utmost!



I'm into guiding foreign tourists and interacting with them. Raised between Kyoto and Osaka, I love both cultures and life styles.

Written on

Other Events You May Like