Emperor sows rice seeds at palace

Japan's Emperor Naruhito has planted rice seeds at the Imperial Palace.

Rice cultivation at the palace was initiated by the Emperor's grandfather, Emperor Showa, to encourage farming. Emperor Naruhito took over the activity from his father, Emperor Emeritus Akihito, who abdicated in 2019.

On Tuesday morning, the Emperor squatted down at a nursery bed and planted two kinds of rice seeds from last year's palace harvest. He sowed about 180 seeds each in several 30-by-30-centimeter plots.

In May, he will take the seedlings that grow and plant them in a rice paddy, also at the palace.

The rice will be harvested in the autumn and offered to deities in Shinto rituals at the palace, including the Niinamesai harvest festival in November.