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Taga Taisha Shrine's torii is festooned with red banners reading " Taga Taisha O-taue Matsuri" or Rice-Planting Festival. Held on the first Sunday in June at 1 pm at the shrine. MAP
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Near Taga Taisha Shrine is the sacred rice paddies divided by a cross in the middle to form the kanji "ta" (田) which means rice paddy. This is the site of the rice planting festival starting at 2 pm. A 500 yen donation is required to go inside
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At around 1:15 pm, a taiko drum troupe from Asahi, Maibara entered the site. Official festival website here
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Taiko drum troupe from Maibara enters the sacred rice paddy and head for the stage.
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They performed the Rich Harvest Taiko Dance (Honen Taiko Odori). 豊年太鼓踊り 国指定無形文化財
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The Rich Harvest Taiko Dance (Honen Taiko Odori) is an Intangible Cultural Property. Also see my YouTube video here. 豊年太鼓踊り
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The music was a mixture of taiko drums, flutes, and a gong. They performed for about 30 min. 国指定無形文化財
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It was a marvelous performance. Although I think it would've been more impressive if they performed on the ground beside the paddies.
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At around 1:45 pm, a procession of priests and the 70 rice planters entered.
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Spectator tents were set up on both sides of the rice paddy. There weren't so many people. Not all the benches were filled.
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The 70 rice planters are junior high school girls in colorful costumes. They are called Taume. 田植女
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Priests and taume girls enter the paddy.
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Taume rice planters at the Taga Taisha Rice-planting Festival. 田植女
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These girls will sing the rice-planting song. 歌女
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The procession encircle the paddies.
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Taume girls proceed while holding rice seedlings.
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Singer with a tall flower hat.
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The taume girls take their places.
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The cross at the center.
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Hat problem.
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After everyone is in place, on the stage, the Oyushiki ceremony is performed to purify the sacred rice paddies. 御湯式
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Oyushiki ceremony is performed to purify the sacred rice paddies during the Taga Taisha Rice-Planting Festival. 御湯式
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The ceremony has a pot of boiling water.
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She pours sacred sake into the boiling pot.
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Oyushiki ceremony is performed to purify the sacred rice paddies during the Taga Taisha Rice-Planting Festival. 御湯式
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She dips two green branches into the pot, then...
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She flings the branches backward over her head, creating a spray of hot water. She did this a few times. Also see my YouTube video here.
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On the lower right, the guy in blue tries to shield himself from the spray of boiling water. The crowd laughed.
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Rice seedlings await.
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Rice-planting dancers sit through the Oyushiki ceremony.
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After the Oyushiki, the singers on stage start singing the rice-planting song. 御田植歌
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The taume girls enter the rice paddy at about 2 pm.
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Taume girl at the Taga Taisha Rice-planting Festival
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The taume girls start to plant the rice seedlings to match the tune of the rice-planting song sung by the girls on stage.
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They plant the rice seedlings while walking backwards in the ankle-deep mud.
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Now you know why some old Japanese women crouch when they walk. They used to plant rice. Of course, these days, most rice is planted mechanically.
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Besides the rice planters, there are rice-planting dancers who dance along the paddy's perimeter. They dance to the rice-planting song sung on stage. 御田植踊
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O-taue odori dancers
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Otaue odori dancer at Taga Taisha Rice-planting Festival (O-taue Matsuri).
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The rice-planting dancers stay out of the mud. They took a break twice or so, but the rice planters had to continue non-stop.
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The boys in blue on both ends are holding a string to serve as a guide for planting the seedlings in a straight line.
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The rice paddy is not in a scenic location. Being next to a busy road, it was quite noisy.
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I feel sorry for the launderer of the costumes after they finish.
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Taume rice-planting girl at Taga Taisha Rice-planting Festival, Shiga Prefecture.
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Keeping the hat on seemed to be common problem.
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These two girls did away with the hat which could not stay on.
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On stage, shrine maidens perform the Yuminomai Arrow Dance. 弓の舞
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O-taue rice-planting dancers take a break.
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The singers stopped singing and just watched.
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The work continues, without the singing and dancing.
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Girl planting rice, Taga Taisha O-taue Matsuri, Shiga Prefecture
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Rice seedlings in hand
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Also see my YouTube video here.
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Nearing the end. However, they did not finish planting the entire paddy. They ended the festival at around 3 pm even though three of the four paddies were still unfinished.
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Washing their hands in a bucket of water.
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Washing their muddy feet.
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At 3:10 pm, they started to leave the rice paddy.
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Taume rice planting girls leave the rice paddy.
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Unfinished work.
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This paddy is unfinished, but looks pretty neat.
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This unfinished paddy looks pretty messy. I think they should've finished planting all the paddies before ending the festival. Only one of the four paddies was completed.
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The shrine priests and taume girls return to Taga Taisha Shrine.
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Muddy pants. Passers by exclaimed, "Look at their feet!"
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The shrine priests and taume girls return to Taga Taisha Shrine.
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The Taiko Drum troupe from Asahi, Maibara pose for a photo in front of the taiko bridge at the shrine.
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Taga Taisha O-taue Matsuri poster. I enjoyed the festival, but was a little shocked that we had to pay money to see it. There's no notice saying that a donation is required to see the festival. I don't mind paying, but it should be mentioned somew
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For our 500 yen donation, we got a thin towel with a nice design. It is the same one worn by the rice-planting girls. Also see the Yasu Rice-Planting Festival. お田植え祭手ぬぐい
 
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