Traditional festivals and rituals in Japan celebrate divine nature and express thanks. The Kumano Region where the Fire Festival takes place is said to be sacred. It has one of the most mysterious shrines in Japan, which combines elements of Buddhism and Shintoism that is known as Shugendo, ancient religious practice.
Participants parade with a Mikoshi (portable shrine) decorated with fans, carrying huge torches. The purpose of the event is to invoke the gods and to pray for the well being of all creatures living on earth. The Onbara Festival and the Gyo-ja Festival in the Nara Region involve ancient Shugendo rituals for purification, fertility dances and colorful parades. Off the Beaten path highlights the Kumano Roads, hot springs and traditional craft making.