Otaue Shinji Rice Planting Festival, Japan

Japanese in traditional dress planting rice in paddy during Otaue Shinji in Osaka, Japan

Japan's rice planting season culminates in Otaue Shinji ceremonies that are held country-wide. Prayers are offered to the Shinto gods to encourage a bountiful harvest. Every June, Osaka's Sumiyoshi Taisha holds one of the biggest and most traditional ceremonies. Oxen till the paddy field, which is then planted with blessed rice seedlings. Throughout the process, a series of songs and dances are performed to enhance the vitality of the rice.

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