Held at the Fushimi Inari Taisha shrine on June 10th, the Taue-sai is a traditional festival closely tied to rice cultivation. According to Japanese agricultural practices rice farmers first begin growing the seeds in spring, then transplant the young plants in to the fields in summer. Shrines practice these same methods when tending to the sacred rice fields under their care. At Fushimi Inari Taisha there is a rice paddy in the precincts that they use to grow rice each year to offer up to Inari, who is worshipped as the god of agriculture and business. This Taue-sai, or Rice Planting Ritual, serves also as a prayer for a bountiful harvest, and features men and women in historic farming costume planting the rice to the accompaniment of song and dance.
Beginning at 13:00 the priests, dancers, musicians, and planters gather in the shrine's main hall to perform a ritual offering of food, drink, and performance. After sumptuous plates of fish, vegetables, and sake are presented to the gods, the chief priest ascends the stairs to read a prayer aloud and ask for the gods' favor. Before being shown to the public the special ota-mai kagura dance is performed for the deities, and the rice to be planted as well as the planters themselves receive a blessing.
Once this ritual is complete the retinue proceeds from the hall to the sacred rice field, where a priest sanctifies the field in preparation for the planting- which is quite fascinating to watch!
The Taue-sai isn't just an opportunity to take in a traditional ritual, but it is also an educational one! With the dancers performing in the background and a rice planting song being sung, it’s amazing to see the planters skillfully wading through the field and planting the young rice.
Things to See/Do