Shinto is one of the local folk religions of Japan and involves an awe and reverence for nature and a deep faith and respect for ancestors. This tradition gave root to the animist idea that the gods dwell in everything, with numerous deities residing in all manner of objects.

Since ancient times, Japanese people have offered rice and sake to these deities and to bygone ancestors as a token of thanks. Rich, full ears of rice are a sign of a fertile crop, and the Japanese gods have a fondness for rice and sake. Offering them their preferred items is a token of gratitude and prayer for the harvest, and this rite continues to be practiced at shrines around the country.