Paddy fields are the typical feature of rice farming in east, south and southeast Asia.Fields can be built into steep hillsides as terraces and adjacent to depressed or steeply sloped features such as rivers or marshes.
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The village has now earned a reputation for its agricultural artistry and this year the enormous pictures of Napoleon and a Sengoku-period warrior, both on horseback, are visible in a pair of fields adjacent to the town hall.
To celebrate this fact, and to attract tourists, the local tourism office decided to showcase their abundant production of rice in “rice paddy art.”So, in 1993, they began a ‘rice farming tour’, offering visitors the opportunity to experience traditional rice farming – from planting to harvesting.
To promote the tour, the tourism department hired artists to draw huge, colorful characters on to the paddy.
This year, a picture of Oiran, the Japanese courtesan, and Marilyn Monroe were painted on the rice paddy fields.
Inakadate’s population of 8,000 have been rice farmers for many centuries, and rice paddy fields make up over fifty percent of the village’s land.
Thus began the backbone of Inakadate’s tourism industry.
To create rice paddy art, famers combine a range of colorful rice strains along with the traditional green. Other ancient strains of rice are used for purple and yellow.
The soil in these lands is so fertile that the yield has consistently been higher than from any other village or town in Japan.