[Hidden Wonders of Japan] Celebrating the Season at Kumano Nachi Taisha

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Kumano Nachi Taisha Shrine, a World Heritage Site, held the Sakura Blossom Festival to pray for a bumper harvest on April 14. To thank nature for her blessings, two shrine maidens with their hair adorned with cherry blossom hairpins, performed an elegant dance in front of the Shintai, Nachi Falls, which is Japan’s tallest waterfall .

The World Heritage Site is located in the city of Nachikatsuura, Wakayama Prefecture, about 130 km south of Osaka.

Reenacting an anecdote from the retirement of Emperor Kazan (968-1008), the festival tells the story of his 1000-day stay on Mount Nachi, where he wrote a waka poem praising the beauty of the cherry blossoms in this region.

Shrine maidens performing a dance as part of the “Sakura Blossom Festival” at Kumano Nachi Taisha Shrine.

During the celebration of the festival, a Shinto priest dressed in a black lacquered costume eboshi (Japanese formal headgear) with cherry blossom decoration, blew a whistle and sounded a drum in the background.

Chishiko Ise, 64, a tourist from Kagoshima City, was delighted with the scene. “The dance of the shrine maidens was very beautiful,” she said, adding, “The songs and performances of the priests were also wonderful. They made me feel relaxed.

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(Read the article in Japanese on this link.)

Author: Sankei Shimbun

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