Continuing on from Part 1 [ http://eng.mg/84063 ], in Part 2 we introduce two more terraced rice fields!
Our tour around the beautiful scenery of Okayama prefecture and the Kume district’s terraced rice paddies continues. Next up are the terraced rice paddies of Ohaganishi.
These terraced rice paddies are 3 to 4 times the size of the average terraced paddy and are among the largest even within the Setouchi region!
There are plenty of viewing points – a recommended driving route is available that shows the spots with the best views.
The special characteristic of the Ohaganishi terraced rice fields is that they are spread 360 degrees around an entire valley – the paddies stretch out like a mortar bowl.
With around 850 rice paddies in total, the area covered by each paddy is so large that it’s as big as 9 Tokyo domes (42 hectares).
On this scale, every single farming task involves a lot of hard work.
During planting and harvesting, tractors and combine harvesters are used, but when you see farmers carefully weeding the footpaths around the fields under the blazing sun, you can’t help but feel admiration.
These kinds of daily chores are surely important for maintaining the paddies, not to mention growing good rice!
By the way, we recommend visiting in the evening!
As the sunset is reflected in the water, you may even see a magical scene like this.
These are the Ohaganishi terraced rice fields in early September, which is right in the middle of the harvest season.
During this season, as the rice crop ripens, you can see this beautiful scenery that looks almost as if a yellow rug has been spread across it!
The best season for visiting the terraced rice paddies is from late May through the end of June, right after the rice has been planted, or from late August to early September during the rice harvest season!
Between July and August, when the rice seedlings are growing, you won’t see the water, but the view of the terraced paddies all covered in green is also a beautiful sight.
Let’s move onto No. 4, the terraced rice paddies of Koyama.
Compared to Ohagishi’s terraced paddies, these are located further back in the nether regions. Though the journey takes you along some slightly narrower roads, a beautiful mountain valley village sitting in perfect harmony with its surroundings awaits.
With around 30 paddies, the terraced rice fields located in this mountainous region are on a smaller scale, but they’re splendidly organized to make great use of the terrain of the valley.
And these are the Koyama terraced rice paddies in early September. Compare them with the photograph above!
This was taken right in the middle of the harvest season, and as you can see, the first three paddies are already finished.
As you’ve seen, although they’re all called terraced rice paddies, they all have different special characteristics, which makes a tour around them quite interesting. Of Japan’s top 100 terraced rice paddies, four of them are to be found in Kume district, Okayama prefecture, and you can tour them all within half a day while enjoying a relaxed drive along country roads.
Ohaganishi Terraced Rice Paddies
Location: 424 Ohaganishi, Misaki-cho, Kume district, Okayama prefecture
Guide homepage: http://www.okayama-kanko.jp/modules/kankouinfo/pub_kihon_detail.php?sel_id=650&sel_data_kbn=0 (Japanese)
Koyama Terraced Rice Paddies
Location: 1218 Koyama, Misaki-cho, Kume district, Okayama prefecture
Guide homepage: http://www.pref.okayama.jp/page/detail-3234.html (Japanese)
Terraced Rice Paddies in Okayama Prefecture (Guide Maps, etc.)
Some of the roads leading to the terraced rice fields may have hard to understand points mid-way, so be sure to check the route well before visiting.
Guide Homepage: http://www.pref.okayama.jp/page/detail-3037.html (Japanese)
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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