If you happen to fly over or drive through the village of Inakadate in northern Japan, a rice farming area, you will not see the green rice fields; instead, you will find the amazing rice paddy art in the form of the Japanese mythological characters and actors from local television shows, as also the scenes from iconic Hollywood movies like ‘Gone with the Wind’, ‘Roman Holiday, ‘Star Wars, and many more. A true homage to the western movies. These gigantic pieces of art are wholly made out of different colored rice saplings.
This incredible rice paddy art is a real tourist puller. This is one of the reasons that led to this creative idea, that is, to combat rising debt, the other being the declining population. A piece of paddy art requires different varieties of rice for different colors and by combining these colors, the rice paddy art is created.
In May every year, around 1,300 volunteers converge on the village to plant rice according to a preconceived art that has been created first on computer. At the time of sowing, the art is not apparent, but come summer, when the rice plants are in full bloom, the paddy art comes to life in all its glory, attracting thousands of tourists to the village.
Rice paddy art is the brainchild of Atsushi Yamamoto, a former high school teacher. According to him, much deliberation goes into thinking up and executing rice paddy art. The theme is decided a year in advance, after which he sets the color theme and perspective.
How Yamamoto plans rice paddy art, he explains on mymodernmet.com, “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.”
Rice paddy art draws around 350,000 tourists every year and the best time to see it is July, since the colors of the strains best suit the design.