Kawakita, Ishikawa




In the town of Kawakita there is a special paddy field (kenkokuden) to produce rice presented for the imperial court harvest festival (niinamesai) held on 23 November. In September prior to the imperial harvest festival a harvest rite (nukihoshiki) is solemnly performed at kenkokuden by the chief Shinto priest and young girls (saotome) who cut the ears of ripened rice.


Every year, the emperor hand-sow seed-rice, transplant it, and reap the rice crop at the paddy field of the imperial household. Some of these crops are used for the imperial court harvest festival (niinamesai) which is the most important Shinto rite to make an offering of the first fruits of a year's grain harvest thanking the deities for their blessing.


In the imperial palace the emperor dedicates the rice for Amaterasu and other gods. By partaking of the food offered he ritually receives the deity's blessings. Some of the rice crop of the imperial paddy field is also presented for the autumn ritual of thanksgiving (kannamesai) hold at the Grand Shrine of Ise (Jingu) in October.