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Home » 4. Jinja (Shrines) » Shrine Architecture
Shinden
"Divine rice field," a rice paddy dedicated to providing the offerings used in shrine ceremonies, or for otherwise augmenting the various profits of a shrine. Such shrine fields were already provided for as grants from the nation under the centralized Ritsuryō (administrative and penal laws) established in the 8th century. Under the later institution of privatized estates or so-called "manors" (shōen), the nature of divine fields changed, and came to possess the character of exclusive lands owned by the shrine. A strong tendency arose for powerful shrine patrons to dedicate lands to shrines, resulting in the steady expansion of shinden. Most such fields were exempted from the payment of annual tribute taxes by the owner, and field taxes were instead applied to providing ritual offerings, the repair and rebuilding of shrine structures, and stipend for the shrine administrator.

Due their nature as sacred lands dedicated to the kami, shinden were in some cases tilled without the use of human night soil fertilizer. Dedicated fields were also known by such names as shinsen-den, miyaden, gokūden, and mitoshiro. The term saiden is used to refer to the special fields called Yuki and Suki, which provide offerings at the time of the Grand Festival of Firstfruits or Daijōsai. See also saiden.

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