Harvesting tribute rice in saotome costumes

Women clad in saotome attire carefully harvest rice

The Nuibosai Rice Harvesting Festival was held on September 20 at a Kurisawa Town, Iwamizawa City rice paddy owned by rice farmer Takeda. Tribute rice was harvested there for the Niiname-sai Harvest Festival to be held on November 23 at the Imperial Palace. Female Iwamizawa Agricultural Cooperative members dressed as traditional saotome rice-planting maidens in conical sugegasa headwear and navy-blue kimonos, and harvested golden-yellow, ripe rice plants with reaping sickles.
The Niiname-sai Harvest Festival is an Imperial Court Ceremony in which the Imperial Emperor of Japan makes offerings of newly harvested nationwide rice at Shinto Shrines and gives thanks for the harvest from that year. Five rice-cups (approximately 900 ml before cooking) of tribute rice is personally delivered to the Imperial Palace in late October.
The Nuibosai Rice Harvesting Festival was held at a rice paddy with about thirty people present, including the harvesters. Amidst the intermittent rain, two of the female Agricultural Cooperative members dressed in saotome attire harvested Yumepirika strain rice. Takeda addressed everyone, saying, “Providing rice for tribute is the ultimate joy. We cultivated this rice with love, and have been blessed with a wonderful crop.”
Two localities cultivate tribute rice in Hokkaido every year, and this year marked 45 years since Iwamizawa City last contributed a tribute in 1975. This year Rumoi City will also contribute tribute rice.