Tanbo Art, or rice paddy art, is truly unique way to enjoy rice. As the fruit of elaborate planning and painstaking labor, huge graphic artworks crop up every summer on the rice fields of Inakadate Village in Aomori Prefecture. In the spring, the villagers and volunteers hand-plant seven varieties of rice, each of which is a different shades or color. This color becomes more prominent as the rice grows and peaks in mid-July to late-August, leading to the appearance of gigantic images.
The images used to be about 15,000 square meters in total. But the village, emboldened by the steady increase of visitors, added a new field in 2012, pushing up the total size to 25,000 square meters, which is equivalent to three and a half football fields. Now, the rice-paddy art attracts more than 260,000 visitors per year.
The images on the rice fields change every year, from a Japanese geisha to scenes from well-known movies and TV programs. The art is best enjoyed from the two observation platforms, one of which is at the top of the village office, which is designed to look like the keep of a Japanese castle.