National

Sacred rope replaced above 133-meter waterfall at Japan World Heritage site

Kyodo

An event to replace a shimenawa sacred rope hanging above a World Heritage waterfall was held Monday to prepare for an upcoming festival at Kumano Nachi Grand Shrine in Wakayama Prefecture.

The event, which takes place twice a year, was initially scheduled for last Thursday but was postponed due to heavy rain.

Shinto priests, who were dressed in traditional costume but with safety ropes attached, replaced the old shimenawa with a new one near the 133-meter-high Nachi Falls in Nachikatsuura.

The replacement was performed about 50 meters upstream from the top of the waterfall for safety reasons, with the water level heightened due to the rain.

They plan to move the shimenawa to the top of the waterfall when the weather clears up.

The annual festival at the shrine is scheduled to be held Tuesday, but will be scaled down this year due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. The most popular part of the festival, in which shrine parishioners carry torches along the road in front of the waterfall, has been canceled.

The shrine and the waterfall are part of the UNESCO-designated World Heritage Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range.

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