Japanese Village Comes Together Each Year To Create Huge Rice Paddy Art
Each year, entire rice fields in a small village in Japan turn into masterpieces. Inakadate village, which is located in the middle of Aomori Prefecture, is known for its remarkable rice paddy art which has now turned into a yearly tradition. From about mid-June until early October, thousands of people around world visit the place to see the village’s magnificent creation called Tanbo Art. Tanbo, the Japanese word for ‘rice field’, bloom into a massive work of art featuring intricate illustrations based on a theme that changes every year.
Inakadate’s rice paddy art began in 1993 as a way to help the village solve its rising debt and declining population problems. Artists and farmers of the village came together to plan for the ambitious project that aimed to attract tourists and raise profits. Their first project was to depict the momentous Mt. Iwaki on a vast rice field by planting rice crops in different colors to achieve the desired drawing. Their first ever Tanbo art was impressively simple with the silhouette of the iconic mountain drafted within a dark-colored frame.
Rice Paddy Art In Inakadate, Japan
Despite their effort, their first rice paddy art failed to draw in enough tourists. However, they have learned something important from this failure. They realized that a simple illustration wouldn’t be enough to create a buzz. If they want to catch the attention of the world, they would need to come up with something more elaborate and more colorful. Furthermore, the theme should be something every people around the world could easily recognize.
Over the years, Inakadate upped their game by showcasing fantastic illustrations featuring more intricate designs, year after year after year. With a steadily growing audience, the village finally got its much-needed breakthrough in 2003 when they unveiled the portrait of Mona Lisa on a rice field. Inspired by Da Vinci’s masterpiece, the spectacular rice paddy art was featured on different parts of the world. Determined to boost tourism even more, the villagers vowed to create more extravagant designs.
The Tanbo art eventually turned into a popular annual event which is greatly anticipated by locals and tourists alike. Every year, people are looking forward what drawings would emerge from the rice fields. Every spring, the villagers hold a conference to plan on the theme for next year’s exhibit. Once the theme is decided, artists begin to work on the art by outlining the design and picking specific varieties of rice crop based on colors. Farmers start planting in late spring, just in time for the crops to bloom in mid-June until October.
When it comes to theme selection, the villagers decided to feature Japanese culture and literature in between as a way to promote the rich history of the country. Unfortunately this year, visitors are not allowed to view the Tanbo art exhibition due to current pandemic. But that doesn’t mean that the annual event is cancelled. You can still see this year’s magnificent rice paddy art through a live camera that you can readily access on Inakadate’s official website. Or you can check out their official Facebook page to see photos of the impressive artwork.