Each year, a small rural village in Japan creates elaborate rice paddy art (aka: tambo āto).
According to Live Japan, the town of Inakadate, located on the Northern Japanese island of Honshu, was the very first place to create rice paddy art.
The artwork originated as a marketing method for Tsugaru Otome rice back in 1993 and blossomed into an annual tradition that draws tourists from around the world.
The villagers use 13 different kinds of rice to get a variety of colors for the art, and they map out the picture they want to create well in advance.
When it comes time to plant, it’s all done by hand. It’s truly incredible!
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The artwork they make has been inspired by Star Wars, Gone with the Wind, Roman Holiday, and famous actors and mythological characters.
A local high school art teacher, Atsushi Yamamoto, is tasked with much of the planning for the designs. According to Atlas Obscura, Yamamoto explained, “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.” He uses a computer image-processing software to help alter the photo to fit the rice field.
The rice paddy art is visible from mid-June through early October and is best viewed from the local observatory tower.
Check out some of the village art below, curtesy of the town’s Facebook page: