Shingu Fire Festival Guided Tour: February 6th

The Shingu Fire Festival

Oto Fire Festival

Get an inside perspective on the Shingu Fire Festival, held annually to pray for peace and safety throughout the year! It takes place at Kamikura Shrine, on the original grounds of Kumano Hayatama Grand Shrine, one of three grand shrines on the Kumano Kodo.

Anyone can attend and watch the festival, but the participants are all men. Men from any country, of any age can participate.

Earlier in the day they separate from their families and dress in a white costume symbolizing purity.

They pay reverence at the temples and shrines in the precincts, then carry a torch as they walk or run down the shrine’s 538 steps, creating a powerful image of waves of fire in the dark night.

Two bilingual guides from Shingu will illuminate this prefecturally-designated important intangible cultural property, so rather than watching from afar, you can really get involved and experience the festival.

You also have two additional options for having the full experience:

  • Eat the traditional “white foods” that festival participants eat when leaving their house for the shrine. (+800 yen)
  • Eat naorai, Shingu’s unique traditional post-festival supper representing the first meal of the new year. (+1500 yen)

For men only: If you’d like to have a really unmatchable experience, you can be a torch-carrier in the festival. An experienced guide will accompany you the entire way through your preparations and during the descent. It’ll be a night you never forget. (*Please note details below.)

  • Date: February 6, 2012 (Monday)
  • Guide fee: 1000 yen plus any options
  • Meeting time and place: 3:30 p.m. at JR Shingu station. Torchbearers must arrive by 3:30 and will follow their own schedule from this time.
  • 8:00 Lighting of the torches. Watch the descent.
  • 9:00 Eat naorai, the traditional post-festival supper.
  • End time: 9:30 at JR Shingu station

Note: if you can’t meet us at the station by 3:30 but would still like to join the group, please contact us to let us know what time you can arrive.

*For men who would like to carry a torch, you must reserve a torch and clothing (1-20,000 yen fee to the City of Shingu, payable to your guide). To reserve the clothing, please tell us your height, waist, and shoe size in cm. We recommend you wear white underwear and a white cotton sweatshirt with no collar and no logo or printing.

To make a reservation for this event, please use the form below. Be sure to choose February 6th as your reservation date, and be sure to let us know if you would like one or both meals in the comment area.

Video from Kumano World TV

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