Ukiyo-e art appears in the rice fields of Saitama for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics
There is no shortage of innovative art in Japan. From Tokyo’s many galleries to the country’s stunning outdoor spaces art museums, there is always a exposure on or something to see, wherever you are. This summer, even the rice paddies of Japan have become canvases – some of Saitama’s rice paddies have been transformed into giant works of art.
City of Gyoda in Saitama Prefecture has been turning local rice paddies into breathtaking murals every year since 2008 in a bid to attract tourists. The city even won the Guinness World Record in 2015 for creating the largest rice paddy artwork in the world.
In honor of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, this year’s paddy field artwork features a depiction of the famous Hokusai ukiyo e woodblock print ‘The Great Wave off Kanagawa’ accompanied by an image of a kabuki actor, similar to that seen in the Olympic opening ceremony.
This year’s design was selected to showcase Japan’s cultural heritage to the wave of international visitors who were expected in Tokyo and Japan for the Games. Unfortunately, the pandemic has largely kept foreign tourists away, but these photos and videos allow you to enjoy artwork from anywhere in the world.
Although it looks like the field has been cut out, the images are actually created by planting types of rice that grow in different colors. The rice for the artwork was planted in June and reached full bloom July 30. The best time to see the field is from mid-July to mid-October, before the rice harvest in the fall.
You can see the whole paddy field from the nearby 50m high lookout point Gyoda Ancient Lotus Park. The park is just over two hours from Tokyo Station by train and bus, and admission costs ¥400 (¥200 for children). To get there, take the Ueno-Tokyo Line to Fukiage Station and change to a bus before getting off at Fujiharamachi Bus Stop. The park is an 18 minute walk away.
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