Japanese Rice Field Art

It's rice art festival season in Japan again.
  • 04 Aug - 10 Aug, 2018
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Mag Files

Every summer, at this time of the year, a quarter million tourists take scenic trains to gaze at the rice art festival in Aomori, Northern Honshu.

The tradition started in Inakadate, a village of 8,000 hoping to revitalise its town in the early 90's.

The rice paddy art began in 1993 when purple and yellow rice plants were used to make a picture of Mt. Iwaki along with letters on rice paddies. The main purpose behind the creation was to take advantage of the tradition of manual work in rice cultivation to give people an opportunity to learn more about rice farming and agriculture.

The rice paddy art uses various coloured rice plants as paint on a rice-field canvas. The massive pictures are elaborately designed using perspective drawing methods to make them look their best when seen from the observation platform. The art has gained media attention from domestic and international media because of its uniqueness. Every year, over 100,000 visitors from Japan and abroad come to see the fields, including the Emperor and Empress of Japan in September, 2014.

Hundreds of volunteers rope off patches of paddies, and plant different-coloured rice strains.

In fall, they harvest around the farm art too.