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Home » 4. Jinja (Shrines) » Shrine Architecture
Saiden
[Sai den]
Literally, a "dedicated" or "tabooed" paddy field, namely, one specially reserved and dedicated to the production of sacred rice for use in offerings of grain and ritual sake (miki) to the kami of a shrine. While saiden are sometimes found at ordinary shrines as well, the term is particularly used to denote those fields where rice is harvested for offerings of food and wine on the occasion of the Grand Festival of Firstfruits or Daijōsai. Also called iwaida or nukihoden. In the case of the Daijōsai, two dedicated fields, called Yuki and Suki, are designated somewhere within the country in preparation for the ritual. In ancient times, the fields were selected on the basis of ritual divination, but in 1909, an Imperial Household Ordinance called Tōkyokurei ("Ordinance Regarding Accession to the Throne") was issued, laying out the ritual procedures accompanying the accession of a new emperor; the eighth article of that ordinance states, "When selecting saiden for the Daijōsai, a region to the east and south of Kyoto shall be selected as the Yuki Region, and a region to the north and west of Kyoto shall be selected as the Suki Region; these regions shall be so designated by imperial proclamation." The ninth article of the Ordinance goes on to stipulate that from among the regions so designated, the Imperial Household Minister was to select specific fields as saiden. On the occasions of the Daijōsai for the Taishō and Shōwa emperors, traditional tortoise-shell divination (kiboku) was used in 1914 and 1928 as part of the "ritual of ordaining dedicated fields" (Saiden tenjō no gi) for the ceremonies. The "Ordinance Regarding Accession to the Throne" itself was abolished in 1947, but the Daijōsai held in 1990 for the current emperor in practice followed the pattern laid down in the 1909 Ordinance. However, the designation of saiden was undertaken by the Imperial Household Agency, with Akita Prefecture being selected as the location for the Yukiden, and Oita Prefecture as the location for the Sukiden. See also Daijōsai, shinden.

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"Establishment of a National Learning Institute for the Dissemination of Research on Shinto and Japanese Culture"
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