Inakadate, Japan showcases works of art in rice fields

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A Japanese Town Creates Works Of Art In Rice Fields
One would assume that a place known solely for growing rice would have little else to offer, but a town in Japan shows the world that's not the case. The people living in Inakadate have been cultivating rice for over 2,000 years, and up until 1993, it was the only thing they were known for.

In order to garner public attention and tourism, the townspeople decided use their ample supply of rice stalks to create art. Known as Tanbo, or paddy art, rice stalks genetically engineered to produce different colors are used. Computer models map out where stakes should go that will guide what color should be planted where. The outcome is an intricate piece of football field-sized artwork that changes annually.

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Inakadate rice paddy art
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Inakadate, Japan showcases works of art in rice fields
INAKADATE, JAPAN - JULY 14: (CHINA OUT, SOUTH KOREA OUT) The rice paddy art of angel's dance is seen on July 14, 2014 in Inakadate, Akita, Japan. The art was drawn with ten different types of rice. The event began 22 years ago to promote the city. (Photo by The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images)
INAKADATE, JAPAN - JULY 14: (CHINA OUT, SOUTH KOREA OUT) The rice paddy art of Mt. Fuji and angel's dance are seen on July 14, 2014 in Inakadate, Akita, Japan. The art was drawn with ten different types of rice. The event began 22 years ago to promote the city. (Photo by The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images)
A large artwork of an 'oiran' (L), a high class courtesan of the Edo era and a depiction of US actress Marilyn Monroe (R) in her film 'The Seven Year Itch', is displayed on a rice field as part of a summer attraction at Inakadate village in Aomori prefecture, northern Japan on July 27, 2013. The huge rice paddy art, created by using nine different coloured varieties of rice plants, can be viewed from an observation platform in the village office until October. AFP PHOTO / JIJI PRESS (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)
Japan, Tohoku Region, Aomori Prefecture, Inakadate-mura, View of Japanese rice art in village. (Photo by: JTB/UIG via Getty Images)
Japan, Tohoku Region, Aomori Prefecture, Inakadate-mura, View of Japanese rice art in village. (Photo by: JTB/UIG via Getty Images)
INAKADATE, JAPAN - JUNE 02: (CHINA OUT, SOUTH KOREA OUT) 1,200 prticipants plant rice in a rice paddy to draw a famous scene of Marilyn Monroe at the movie 'The Seven Year Itch' on June 2, 2013 in Inakadate, Aomori, Japan. With using 9 different types of rice, the Inakadate Village draw rice paddy art every year, the drawing can be seen mid July to mid August. (Photo by The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images)
INAKADATE, JAPAN - OCTOBER 02: (JAPANESE NEWSPAPERS OUT) People hearvest the rice at a rice paddy art field on October 2, 2011 in Inakadate, Aomori, Japan. The art is created by planting different types of rice on 15,000 square meters rice paddy. (Photo by Sankei via Getty Images)
INAKADATE, JAPAN - OCTOBER 02: (JAPANESE NEWSPAPERS OUT) People hearvest the rice at a rice paddy art field on October 2, 2011 in Inakadate, Aomori, Japan. The art is created by planting different types of rice on 15,000 square meters rice paddy. (Photo by Sankei via Getty Images)
INAKADATE, JAPAN - AUGUST 03: (JAPANESE NEWSPAPERS OUT) Spectators take photographs of historical figures of Ushiawkamaru and Benkei on August 3, 2010 in Inakadate, Aomori, Japan. The art is created by planting different types of rice on 15,000 square meters rice paddy. (Photo by Sankei via Getty Images)
Rice paddy art on display in Inakadate Village in Aomori Prefecture on Sunday 27th July 2014. Inakadate is a small village of 8,000 inhabitants in Norther Japan that has becme famous for creating art in its rice paddy fields by planting a range of colourful rice plants on a rice paddy canvas. This helps attract over 200,000 visitors to the small village each year. This year's designs include a recreation of Mt Fuji and a depiction of the characters from the popular Japanese animation Sazaesan. Every year new creations are displayed from mid-July until September.
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The paddies cost around $35,000 a year and over, over 1,000 volunteers help create and maintain them. A small observation deck is on the edge of the fields, offering around 200,000 visitors a year a glimpse of the elaborate artwork. Other towns within Japan have also begun creating the paddy art, although none are as complex as Inakadate's.

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