Located about an hour’s drive from central Hiroshima city, as you exit a narrow tunnel, suddenly the view opens up to reveal beautiful terraced paddy fields.
Boasting 324 fields in total, the Ini terraced paddy fields are the only ones in Hiroshima prefecture to have been selected among Japan's top 100.
The geometrical pattern the paddies and the footpaths between them create is almost a work of art!
There are several places to park in the Ini rice paddy area. Access to the paddies from the parking areas is via a farm road.
With the delightful scenery that surrounds the rice paddies being reflected in the water, the tranquil beauty of this mountain valley region certainly has healing properties…
Right after planting rice seedlings, tadpoles begin swimming in the rice paddies.
With each interval of sunshine the great frog choir starts their concert with "ribbit, ribbit…" It's not only what you see, but also what you hear that has a healing effect.
If you walk down the hill road along the rice fields, you'll find an observation deck. From there, you have a full view over the terraced paddy fields, which are separated by stone walls.
Matched with the shape of the rice paddies, the rice seedlings are planted in an efficient and orderly way.
The best season to go on a tour of the paddies is between late May and the end of June after seedling planting finishes. That’s the time to see the paddies flooded with water.
As the seedlings grow through July and August, you won't be able to see water anymore, but the view of the paddies covered in fresh green is also a beautiful sight.
These are the Ini terraced paddy fields in early September. During this period, the rice matures and the fields look almost as if a yellow rug has been spread over them!
In early October, an event is held where visitors can try harvesting rice! (* Advance registration is required to participate. Check Ootagawa Seiryu Juku below for further details.)
Another nearby attraction, about 10-minutes drive from the paddies, is the enormous ginko tree at Tsutsuga Otoshi Shrine.
Estimated to be over 1100 years old, the enormous tree stands at a height of 49m and has a circumference of 8.2m.
These are the Ini terraced paddy fields in January. The steps of the fields covered in snow continue on, and a world of snow spreads out before your eyes.
Though a little far from the city, the paddy fields are relatively easy to access. From central Hiroshima city, they can be reached within about an hour by car.
Putting them in the limelight, on March 31st, 2015, Itsukushima Shrine, a world heritage site, and the Ini terraced paddy fields were selected among Japan's 31 most beautiful places by a famous American news agency.
Highly appreciated even outside Japan, the delightful, traditional Ini terraced paddy fields and their surroundings show multiple colorful faces that change according to the season.
The Ini Terraced Paddy Fields
Location: 40 Nakatsutsuga, Akiota-cho, Yamagata district, Hiroshima prefecture
Guide Homepage: http://www.akioota-navi.jp/html/kankou_spot_ini_tanada.html (Japanese)
Tanada no Hisato (Cooperation with the photographs)
Guide Homepage: http://initanada.sakura.ne.jp/ (Japanese)
Ootagawa Seiryu Juku (Rice harvesting experience, etc.)
Guide Homepage: http://www.seiryu-juku.com/html/lecture_tanada_inekari.html (Japanese)
Tsutsuga Ginko Tree
Location: 80-1 Kamitsutsuga, Akiota-cho, Yamagata district, Hiroshima prefecture
Guide Homepage: http://www.akioota-navi.jp/html/kankou_spot_tutuga_ooityou.html
(Japanese, but information is available in English about the terraced fields here http://www.akioota-navi.jp/en/attraction.html)
Setouchi Finder Photo-writer: Hironobu Matsuoka
Hironobu Matsuoka / Photo-writer Born in 1974 in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, and currently living there, Hironobu is the president of Mediapolis Inc. "I travel around the country in Solar King, an eco-camping car that has a solar power generator, and film the beautiful scenery of Japan in high-definition. I want to move around the country as much as possible and leave behind videos of precious Japanese nature and scenery for future generations to enjoy. Although I travel all over the country, I love my home area of Setouchi." 'Healing Japan TV' - Traveling virtually around the country through 'healing videos'.
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