Rice-paddy art was started in the village in 1993 out of an idea that grew out of meetings of the local village committee. In the first nine years, local farmers and other local residents grew a simple design of Mount Iwaki every year. Within a decade their ideas grew more complicated and attracted more attention. From 2003 they started planning well before the time of actual planting and made a grid map on a large drawing board to achieve masterly results. From 2006 computers were used to precisely decide which variety of seedling should be planted where.

The plantings are carried out in May-June and as summer progresses, the plants grow and the detailed artwork begins to emerge. The art work is so huge that from the ground level it is not possible to properly discern the shape. A mock castle tower was therefore built on the village office to see the beautiful artwork.

The village has earned a name for itself for its agricultural creativity and several thousand visitors visit Inakadate in September every year, when the crop has fully ripened and is ready for harvesting. Some come as tourist to view the beautiful artwork and some volunteer to help in the harvesting.

After the harvesting the grand design vanishes and fields are ready for next years design.

Over the past few years, other villages have also started such artwork in other rice-farming areas of Japan.

Here are few images from 2007 which show the progression.

The workers are carefully planting the paddy to create reproduction of a famous Edo Period print by Katsushika Hokusai;

Image from Flickr is by astanhope

The painting is starting is to take shape;

Image from Flickr is by astanhope

A better clarity now;

Image from Flickr is by astanhope

The final outcome in September just before harvesting;

Image from Flickr is by astanhope

Some more images from various years;

Mona Lisa (Year not known);

Image from Flickr is by astanhope

Napoleon (Year not known);

Image from Panoramio is by Yukiko8888

2005 - Copy of ukiyo-e works;

Image from Flickr is by IRRI Images

2006 - Wind God and Thunder God;

Image from Flickr is by IRRI Images

Image from Flickr is by bebot


Image from Flickr is by IRRI Images


Image from Flickr is by IRRI Images

Main source of info:The Japan Times Online