Across Japan there are a number of shrines that have special rice planting ceremonies.
In Osaka, the best known of these ceremonies is the Otaue Shinji (Rice Planting Ceremony) at Sumiyoshi Shrine. The ancient shrine complex still retains a rice field. The Otaue Shinji is held every year on June 14th from 1pm.
The ceremony starts with religious ceremonies in the main hall of the inner shrine with shrine priests and ceremony participants. The ceremonial procession leaves the inner shrine and proceeds to the rice field where volunteers plant rice seedlings into the flooded field as special performers take to a special platform stage in the center of the field and other performers move around the field to perform dances and martial arts demonstrations.
Below is a photo journal from June 14th 2018.
|Armored samurai performing a dance with a folding fan and a naginata.|
You can see shrine staff inside the building.
|Note the imperial kikumon seal on the shrine curtain.|
Also note the tall, two-tooth tengu-geta sandals.
|A procession through the shrine complex.|
This performance is a type of porters dance, the tall horse hair banners are spun and tossed from one man to the next in this dance.
|Note the shrine crest on the boxes.|
|This shrine is the prototype of the Sumiyoshi-zukuri form.|
Note the okichigi cross shaped ornaments on the roof and the perpendicular bars, katsuogi, on the roof.
|Note the kikumon crest on his chest.|
His helmet has decorations (datemono) of a dragon and long vertical pieces.
|Two banners, the Sumiyoshi crest and the mitsu-domoe crest which is typical of Shinto shrines.|
|Small girls in makeup.|
|Large red parasols and a veiled hat.|
|The paper charms (of red, yellow and green triangles) are a recurring motif of the Otaue Shinji.|
|Sacred water drawn from a shrine well and blessed/purified in the opening ceremonies will be poured into the waters irrigating the rice field.|
|Girls who perform a symbolic dance imitating rice planting.|
|住吉踊り. The traditional "Sumiyoshi Dance" is performed by girls in wide flat hats with paper fans.|
|The large parasol around which the dancers gather.|
|Sumiyoshi Odori dancers.|
|Sumiyoshi Odori dancers.|
|Sumiyoshi Odori dancers passing the stone lanterns (ishi torou).|
|A traditional instrument being played as the field is prepared.|
|Working plowing the field with an oxen.|
Note the mitsu-domoe crest on the oxen's blanket.
|Preparing to work the field.|
|Similar costumes are seen at other agricultural rituals (such as the one at Otori shrine which is located just south of Sumiyoshi).|
|The oxen plowing the field.|
|Dancer on the field stage.|
Note the dragon head-dress
|A traditional fan dance.|
|Another dancer takes the stage with a more masculine display.|
It seems one of the datemono pieces has fallen off of his helmet.
|Boys dressed as samurai.|
|They perform a ritualistic dance around the field.|
|Some of the boys have elaborate armor (yoroi with decorated kabuto and sode shoulder pieces).|
|A wooden staff and simpler armor.|
|Audience members can pay a feet for seats in the shade.|
|The two groups enter from opposite sides and run around the field.|
|The Sumiyoshi Odori dance.|
|The Sumiyoshi Odori dance involves skipping and slapping a paper fan.|