Rice Paddy Arts in Japan

Rice paddy art (Tanbo Art) is gigantic art pictures created on rice fields where people plant various types of rice to make different colors. When and how did they start? People living in Inakadate, Aomori prefecture started it first in 1993 to revitalize their village. The art was made with 3 different types (colors) of rice at first, however, they improved the skill and now they use 7 different colors of rice so that they can create more delicate and accurate pictures on the paddies. Other villages create tanbo arts in recent years to follow the big success of Inakadate, also many people have realized that this can be very good food education for children and schools and families join the projects to enjoy planting rice by hand. Therefore they have become a popular seasonal tradition in about 100 rice field villages/cities in Japan now. Rice paddy arts are at their best now as rice plants get greener in summertime.



Inakadate Villege, Aomori prefecture

They created the pictures from famous movies “Gone with the Wind” and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” last year and 340,000 tourists visited the village.





Their Tanbo Art has been created under two themes this year. One is from a NHK historical drama “Sanada
Maru” at First Tanbo Art, and the other one from the movie “Shin Godzilla” (Godzilla Resurgence in the English title) at Second Tanbo Art. 1,300 people planted rice on May 29th.

Photo: Facebook: Tanbo Art Inakadate Village


Photo: Facebook: Tanbo Art Inakadate Village


You can see how the pictures look like with Live Cameras on their website. Under the each camera, the calendar shows the art each day which is very interesting to see how the colors gradually change. The website is only in Japanese but click the camera icons on the link below.

Inakadate Village Tanbo Art Website: http://www.inakadate-tanboart.net/


Admission fee is about 300 yen for each Tanbo Art and they are open for visitors until October 10th this year.
If you are interested, click for the details!
Aomori Sightseeing Guide Website: http://www.en-aomori.com/20160530_tanboart.html


Yonezawa, Yamagata prefecture

You will see giant pictures of Uesugi Kagekatsu and Yukimura Sanada, two famous historical samurais also from NHK drama “Sanada Maru”.

Photo: Facebook Yonezawa Tanbo Art

Gyoda, Saitama prefecture

The city won the Guinness World Record for “The Largest Rice Field Mosaic” in 2015. The project took 5
years and 813 people including rice-planting volunteers and families to achieve the project. Take a look at
how large it is!

This year, 1,500 people have made a picture of Dragon Quest in the celebration of the 30th anniversary.

Photo: https://www.city.gyoda.lg.jp/15/05/10/280719.html


Tsuyama, Okayama prefecture

This is not this year but 3 years ago back in 2013, a city in Okayama created a powerful picture of a very
famous manga Naruto. Naruto fans got very excited with their art.★

Photo: Twitter


Oyama, Tochigi prefecture

The city chose manga characters by the late Mr. Osamu Tezuka, the great Japanese manga artist for the art this year. 900 people planted rice on May 22nd and the pictures are at their best on July 16th. Many families are visiting to see Astro Boy, Black Jack and Kimba the White Lion (Jungle Emperor Leo).


Photo: https://www.city.oyama.tochigi.jp/kanko/event/oyamatanboart.html


Photo: https://www.city.oyama.tochigi.jp/kanko/event/oyamatanboart.html


Photo: https://www.city.oyama.tochigi.jp/kanko/event/oyamatanboart.html


How about visiting one of those rice paddy art when you have a chance in the future?

Top Image: Twitter
Source: http://www.inakadate-tanboart.net/, http://www.en-aomori.com/20160530_tanboart.html, https://www.facebook.com/inakadatevillage/, https://www.facebook.com/%E7%B1%B3%E6%B2%A2-%E7%94%B0%E3%82%93%E3%81%BC%E3%82%A2%E3%83%BC%E3%83%88-145074769002997/, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hsct7QoB32I, https://www.city.gyoda.lg.jp/15/05/10/280719.html, https://www.city.oyama.tochigi.jp/kanko/event/oyamatanboart.html,