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Inakadate Japan: This Rural Japanese Village Grows Epic Rice Field Art to Attract Tourists

The Japanese town of Inakadate has become famous for its rice field art (called Tanbo Art in Japanese) held from early June to October.
Rice paddy art is the use of a rice paddy as a gigantic canvas by planting different rice varieties of different shares. It's said that rice paddy art originated in the town of Inakadate in Aomori Prefecture.
The designs change every year and have included such themes as Star Wars and Roman Holiday. What is it about Inakadate's rice field art that draws visitors from all over the world?
Photo provided by: Inakadate Village Planning and Tourism Division

Exactly what is rice field art in Japan?

Photo provided by: Inakadate Village Planning and Tourism Division

Rice paddy art, or Tanbo Art, is the creation of pictures and letters made by planting different color types of rice.
Inakadate Village in Japan, located in the middle of Aomori Prefecture, was the first place to create rice paddy art and currently, there are two locations in the village dedicated for that purpose.
It originally began as a way of promoting the local Tsugaru Otome rice brand. It started in 1993 when the staff at the village office came up with the idea that it would be interesting not only to experience rice cultivation, such as rice planting and rice harvesting but also to create pictures with three types of rice of different colors.

How exactly is rice paddy art formed?

Photo provided by: Inakadate Village Planning and Tourism Division

In the beginning, they used three different types of rice having three different colors. Today, however, they use 13 types of rice, having 7 different colors which create a more realistic representation of people, their expressions, their clothes, and other things.
The design changes every year with the art teacher in the village school lending a hand. It is drawn in perspective so that the picture is not distorted when viewed from an observation deck.
Once a design has been decided, the varieties of rice to be planted are selected and a blueprint is made. The positions that will serve as marks for planting the seedlings are determined and then marked by stakes following the completed blueprint.
Once that is done, the planting of the seedlings begins. Once the rice plants have matured the rice paddy art is completed. What is amazing is that all of this work is done manually by the villagers.

Photo provided by: Inakadate Village Planning and Tourism Division

Anyone can participate in the harvest of the rice if they make a reservation in advance. The rice planting event is held every year from early to mid-May and the harvesting of it takes place from early to mid-September.
Applications to participate can be made on the Inakadate Village website (English, …

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