Sacred food-offerings. Ritual offerings of food and drink for the kami. The content of the offerings will vary according to the kami and the occasion (matsuri etc.) on which the food is offered, but the nature of food offerings and the careful manner of their presentation is precisely regulated in each case; shinsen may exceptionally include up to 75 different dishes. Shinsen for the kami always include sake (rice wine), sometimes brewed specially in the shrine premises, and usually rice. Other items which are products of nature and are being 'returned' to the kami who provided them include various kinds and colours of rice, fish, birds and animals, mountain, field and sea vegetables, fruits, sweet items, salt and water. At a large matsuri the shinsen dishes, supported on small trays or stands (oshiki, takatsuki—see sanbo) are passed in ritual sequence by a relay of priests from the purified shinsen-den, the building where the offerings are prepared, to the heiden where they are offered to the kami on the hassokuan. Once consecrated by being presented before the kami the food is brought back to the shinsen-den and consumed by priests and other participants in the naorai meal. Shinsen items are categorised as jukusen (cooked food), seisen (raw food) and less commonly sosen (vegetarian food). Shinsen offered to the kami are generally 'strong' raw or salty and include sake, meat or fish, in contrast to offerings to Buddhist divinities which are on the sweet side and are not meant to include meat or alcohol.
   See Sonae-mono

A Popular Dictionary of Shinto. .

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