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This rice paddy near the foot of Mt. Mikami and next to Mikami Shrine was used to produce the rice offering used for the Showa Emperor Hirohito's accession to the throne in 1928. Such a paddy is called Yuki Saiden. 悠紀斎田
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On the fourth Sunday in May, the Yuki Saiden O-taue Matsuri, or Rice-planting Festival is held here. It starts at 10 am with a Shinto ceremony with the planters and local dignitaries in attendance in front of the rice paddy.
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Rice-planting Festival Shinto ceremony. A torii stands next to the rice paddy. MAP
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Although a Shinto priest from Mikami Shrine conducts the ceremony, the festival is organized by the Yasu Tourist Association. The rice planters and dancers are from a local rice-planting preservation group.
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At 10:30 am when the ceremony was over, they proceeded to the rice paddies. Four groups of planters and dancers went to the four paddies.
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First they threw bunches of rice seedlings into the paddy.
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Everyone took off their straw sandals and went into the paddies barefoot.
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Ready to sink into the paddy.
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Their feet are more than ankle deep in the mud. No one lost their balance and fell into the mud.
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When the taiko drumming and folk singing started, they started planting the rice seedlings. On the ridge, there were dancers.
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This rice paddy was used to produce the rice used for a ritual called the Daijosai as part of the Showa Emperor's accession ceremonies in 1928. Selected by the Imperial Household Agency, the Yuki Saiden sacred rice paddy must be east of Kyoto. 悠
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For the Daijosai, another sacred rice paddy is also selected to the west of Kyoto. That paddy is called Suki Saiden. In 1928, it was located in Fukuoka Pref.
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It is a great honor to be selected as the sacred rice paddy for an emperor's accession to the throne. The Yuki Saiden paddy for the current Emperor Akihito was in Akita Pref.
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In the background is cloud-capped Mt. Mikami.
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Woman planting rice at the rice-planting festival in Yasu, Shiga Prefecture.
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Rice seedlings in hand.
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On the ridges were women dancers.
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They wear a sedge hat (suge-kasa すげ笠), red trousers (緋ばかま), wrist covers (手甲), and leggings (脚絆).
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Rice-planting festival dancer, Yasu, Shiga Pref.
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The rice paddy actually consists of four square paddies divided by cross-shaped ridges. When you see it from above, it looks like the kanji "ta" 田 which means rice paddy.
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The Yuki Saiden rice paddy is in a scenic, rural location, with Mt. Mikami in the background. You can understand why it was selected to be the Yuki Saiden in 1928.
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A gate with sacred rope
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A local troupe of Taiko drummers called "Mukade Taiko." Mukade means centipede. Mt. Mikami is famous for a folk tale about a giant centipede which occupied the mountain. It was later killed by a brave warrior from Otsu.
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Young children also joined in the singing.
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Rice-planting festival dancer, Yasu, Shiga Pref.
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They also had a short break.
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Almost finished planting the rice in this paddy. The festival was over after 11 am.
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Rice-planting Festival in Yasu, Shiga Prefecture with Mt. Mikami in the background. Also see my YouTube video here.
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Afterward, they washed their feet in a stream next to Mikami Shrine. Also see photos of the Taga Taisha Rice-Planting Festival.
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