Rice paddy art or tanbo art as it’s known in Japanese was first created in the town of Inakadate in Aomori in 1993 as a way of attracting people to the area and nearly 2 decades on the town welcomes between 100,000 and 200,000 visitors per year to view their spectacular creations.

Gyoda city in Saitama has also been turning local rice paddies into works of art since 2008 and was awarded the Guinness World Record in 2015 for making the world’s largest rice field artwork.

This year’s “Edible Art Project” aims to bring awareness to the problem of an oversupply of rice due to the pandemic and the damage to the inbound tourism market as a result of the dwindling number of visitors.  The term “Japonism” refers to the influence of Japanese culture on the art and culture of Western countries toward the end of the 19th century when Japan opened to the world and this year’s rice paddy artwork features two Japanese art forms that have contributed greatly to Japonism: ukiyo-e and Kabuki. The rice paddy creation depicts the famous Hokusai ukiyo-e woodblock print ‘The Great Wave off Kanagawa,’ and an image of a Kabuki actor.

Unfortunately, due to the pandemic Gyoda city was unable to welcome international visitors this year but these images show how the rice paddy art takes form over time and Japan Holidays is pleased to assist in promoting these works via our ENews to enable our followers to enjoy the artworks from afar.

Rice paddy art is created by planting types of rice that grow in different colours. The rice for this project was planted over two days on June 12th & 13th and reached full bloom by the end of July. The best viewing times are from mid-July to mid-October with the rice being harvested in autumn time in Japan.

Hopefully there will be an opportunity to see the rice paddy artwork next season. There is a lookout spot located at Gyoda Ancient Lotus Park which is just over two hours from Tokyo Station by train and bus.

Japan Holidays looks forward to assisting clients to plan their itineraries so that they may enjoy seeing such sites during their visit to Japan.