Nagatoro Fire Festival 2024

The Nagatoro Fire Festival is the largest fire festival in the Kanto Plain / Greater Tokyo area. It will be held this year, but just like last year it is on a reduced scale.

Nagatoro Fire Festival

From the official website

A truly awesome and invigorating festival, the fire festival is one of those only-in-Japan occasions that are a must see for the long term expat in Japan. It is a religious rite which heralds the coming of spring. In addition, it will also be of interest to passing tourists, who can appreciate the grandeur of the fire ritual without understanding Japanese.

They hold the festival annually on the first Sunday in March, near the Mt Hodo base ropeway station at the foot of Mt Hodo. Approximately 1,000 participants march to the Nagatoro Fudo Temple that is near the ropeway station. (FYI, currently there are plum blossoms in bloom at the temple’s plum blossom grove). At the temple Buddhist priests walk through the fires of a holy fire called a goma. They say that by crossing the holy fire you burn away all misfortunes and obstacles.

Hodosan ropeway base station fire festival nearby
Hodosan Ropeway Base Station

The ritual is called “hiwatari” and this is a rare opportunity to see it up close. Hiwatari literally means crossing the fire. This festival is one of the main ways they welcome spring in Nagatoro. Furthermore, they perform the ritual as a prayer for protection against misfortune.

Nagatoro Fire Festival in 2024

The festival has been confirmed for March 3rd 2024. However, just like last year, it will be on a much smaller scale than normal. For example, they will not have the shishimai in front of Nagatoro Station. Also, they will not have the Ohayashi festival stall. Both were staples of the festival before the pandemic. Furthermore, like every event, it is subject to change and, as always, I would ask that you check with the official website for any last minute changes before walking out the door.


Information

Event: Nagatoro Fire Festival 長瀞火祭り

Date: Sunday March 3rd 2024

Time: from 10 am 1 pm* to approximately 3 pm. *In 2024, the festival will once again be on for a shorter period than usual. 

Cost: free to spectate

Venue: the temple’s parking lot, which is located below the base station of Hodosan Ropeway. View on Google maps.

Access

The temple is about a 20 minute walk from Nagatoro station. But the parking lot where the ritual is performed is only about a 15 walk from the station.

There is normally parking beside the Hodosan ropeway base station, but due to the festival it will be limited. There are also some charged parking lots around Nagatoro Station.

Official 2024 event page.

Editors note: the Nagatoro Fire Festival was temporarily removed from the website during the pandemic. Republished February 3rd 2023. Updated annually.

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