Rice is not just a stable food here in Japan, but a kind of sacred gift from God. They used to believe God is in every grain of rice, so children are taught not to waste even a single grain in the rice bowl.
June is the season farmers plant rice seedlings.
At many Shinto shrines in Japan there held a special ceremony asking the Gods for the protection and big harvest in autumn.
In Kyoto every year on the 10th of June Fushimi-Inari shrine has this ceremony.
At 1 pm at the main hall Shinto priests in special costumes pray to all Gods and Goddesses for the protection, and Okagura ( special sacred Shinto music and dance ) is offered to the Gods and Goddesses.
Then selected local girls and Shinto priests move to the sacred rice paddy of the Shrine.
Rice seedlings are carried to the fields by two Shinto priests in a special wooden box.
A Shinto- priest purifies the rice field by waving a branch of Sakakitree with pure white paper cut in a zigzag line on which the spirits of Gods are temporarily staying.
Then girls step down into the rice paddy and plant rice seedling one by one carefully.
At the same time on the higher ground where all Shinto-priests attending, Shrine maidens are gracefully dancing acompanied by ancient musics played by Shinto-priests.
In this way we are blessed and given plenty rice in the autumn.
In autumn there is another ceremony to thank the all Gods and Goddesses for the big harvest.