Have you ever heard about Rice Paddy Art? It is a kind of art that uses various colored rice plants as paint on a rice-field canvas. I first saw it in the internet and also wish to see it, but due to my lack of knowledge about Japan at that time, I was discouraged. Then, after spending my life in Sendai (the biggest city in Tohoku area) for a while, my friend persuaded me to visit the Rice paddy field in Iwate prefecture. I was surprised because I had never thought that it is near and easy to go there. Once I first saw it, I had no idea which part of Japan it is located. Here’s the pictures of the rice paddy art at Iwate I visited.
Actually, every prefectures (Miyagi, Akita, Aomori, Yamagata, Fukushima, and Iwate) in Tohoku area have this art, but the most famous one is in Inakadate villages located in Aomori prefecture. Now, you may wonder what the inspiration that led them to this creation. Started in 1993, there were rice planning tours that give visitors the opportunity to experience traditional rice farming done by hands. Then, after that tours happened, they created this art in order to attrct more tourists to Aomori.
Now, let’s see how they create the paddy art. First, they need to decide on a design, draw a sketch of the design and revise the sketch adding a three-dimensional perspective. After that they have to choose the varieties of rice to use in the design which may be a purple rice called murasakiine, a yellow rice called kiine, a local Aomori rice called Tsugaru Roman, a red rice, yukiasobi which has whilte leaves and the red-tipped iwaiakane. You may be surprised that the art is created naturally, no chemical agents are used here. Some people think that the art is created by dying the rice by chemical color. In my opinion, they extremely give effort to do this art because they need to plant the millions of small seeds in pattern into a huge paddy. Moreover, they need put the seed correctly because the art cannot be edited after you finish planting it. Due to its beauty and uniqueness, rice paddy art have attracted both Japanese and international visitors more than 100,000 people every year. They not only have a creative idea, but also the elaboration and I confirm that you are worth seeing the art. Here are some examples of the art from Inakadate villages.
Address: Inakadatemura yakuba 123-1 Inakadatemura ooaza inakadate aza nakatsuji, Aomori
- By plane from Tokyo is to fly from Haneda Airport to Aomori (one hour and 15 minutes), then take a bus to Hirosaki (60 minutes). From Hirosaki, take the Kōnan Tetsudo Line to Inakadate Station (24 minutes).
- Shinkansen from Tokyo to Shin-Aomori (three hours, 37 minutes), then take the Ōu Line to Hirosaki (36 minutes) and then on to Inakadate Station.
There are two Tambo Art fields, and both are about a five-minute taxi ride from Inakadate Station. The first field is on the east side of Inakadate City Hall, and the second field is located at the “Michi no Eki” at Inakadate Yayoi no Sato.
If you plan to travel in many different places and want to enjoy the beauty of nature, you can rent a car. I think Tohoku is good for car-driving trip because the traffic is good and you can go to unique places easily.
Opening Hours: May 30 to Jul. 15 and Sep. 1 to Oct. 10
09:00-17:00 (Jul. 6 – Aug. 31: 8:30-18:00)
Closed: Oct.11 to May 29
Best season: August and September
Fee: Adults: 300 yen, elementary school students: 100 yen
Place to stay
Since there is no hotel in Inakadate village, so you need to stay at other hotel in Kuroishi or Hirakawa City. Here I found some interested hotel/hot spring.
- Minamida Onsen Hotel Appleland (15 minutes walk from Hiraka Station on Konan railway’s Konan line) : This hotel is famous for all-year-round apple bath hot spring which was said that it’s good for skin and we can be relaxed mentally and physically from the apple scent. Yukata are available for guests to wear during their stay.
Facilities: Communal bath, open-air bath and sauna