The village of Inakadate, northern Japan, has been brining their culture to life since 1993 with amazing rice paddy art, or as they call it, tambo āto.
More than 1,300 volunteers come together every year in the month of May to plant different varieties of rice in an interesting design. After some months, the hard work of planting rice starts blooming and reveals the magnificent designs from about mid-June until early October. As the artwork starts to reveal itself, it starts to attract thousands of tourists to the site.
Over the years, the designs have become more and more creative showcasing several well known factors such as the Western film and literature like Gone With the Wind, Roman Holiday, and even Star Wars. There is also many depictions of Japanese mythological characters and actors from local television shows.
The theme of the designs are planned a year in advance and then created and designed by former high school teacher Atsushi Yamamoto. When Yamamoto starts working on the art she takes into account the theme and the colour scheme and perspective of the designs. “Using a computer image-processing software, I make changes as I plan the design. The original image may be a photograph or a detailed graphic, and may use hundreds or thousands of colors…all that is reduced to around seven colors of farm field rice.”
The colour of the strains best suits the design in July, which makes it the best time for tourists to view the art.
The village of Inakadate is a small town known to be a rice farming area. The village formed the idea of rice art as a way to combat rising debt and declining population. With their creative way of attracting tourists, the village debt is a third of what it was 10 years ago. Fumihito Suzuki, who works at the local tourism department, explained that, “Rice-field art has become synonymous with Inakadate.
Next year, we’d like to go back to planting both sites. The vaccine rollout is progressing, so we hope that people can come and see it with their own eyes.”