Japanese Farmers Plant Specific Strains of Rice to Grow Colorfully Illustrated Fields

January 25, 2020 at 6:46 pm

These artistic farmers use their rice paddies as canvases for giant murals

Japanese farmers and artists have teamed up to turn rice paddies into art.

Nearly three decades ago, the people of Inakadate – a rural rice-growing village – were brainstorming ways to attract tourism and revitalize their economy.

When town officials saw a large group of elementary school kids planting a field of rice by hand, they had an idea – rice paddy art!

They paired up local artists with farmers, and enlisted thousands of volunteers to help plant seven different colors of rice into pre-plotted designs, like a giant color-by-number project.

There’s a village meeting each year to decide the theme. Village officials make a simple computer mockup and then ask art teachers to make more detailed drawings.

Next, color-coded markers are staked into the watery field, and finally citizens are enlisted to fill in the spaces with the proper strain of rice plant.

The designs change every year keeping tourists coming back year after year.

The rice paddy art attracts 150,000 visitors a year in a town with a population under 9000.