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HIROSHIMA

Rice planters put on a show for famed event

by Tomoko Otake

Staff Writer

An annual rice-planting festival known as the Mibu no Hana Taue Matsuri will be held Saturday in Hiroshima, giving visitors a peek into the centuries-old popular ritual that was added to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list in 2011.

In the agricultural ritual, which has a history that dates back to the Kamakura Period (1185-1333), women in colorful dresses and large straw hats plant rice while singing songs, accompanied by drums and whistles. Kagura, a theatrical Shinto dance, and shishimai, a lion dance, will also be performed. Visitors interested in rice-planting can join in by signing up at the venue, and get a token gift for participating.

The Mibu no Hana Taue Matsuri will start at 10 a.m. on May 11 in a rice field across from Nafuko general goods store, a 10-minute walk from JR Kamifukawa Station in Hiroshima. The station is a 30-minute ride on the Geibi Line from JR Hiroshima Station. For more information, contact Fukiko Sato at (090) 8362-1585.