Since 1993, the village of Inakadate in northern Japan has been revitalizing its culture through amazing rice paddy art, or tambo āto (wiki). Every May, about 1,300 volunteers come together to plant different varieties of rice to create intricate design. By the time summer comes along, their hard work is in full bloom – a huge living canvas on which a painting materializes.

The small town, which had always been a rice farming area. They formed the idea as a way to combat rising debt and declining population. Every year, thousands of tourists will visit the site to witness the latest rice paddy art. The designs change every year and have included such themes as Star Wars and Roman Holiday as well as many depictions of Japanese mythological characters and actors from local television shows.

These complex designs can be attributed to the planning of former high school teacher Atsushi Yamamoto. The theme is typically decided a year in advance. After which, Yamamoto begins working on the art—taking into account the color scheme and perspective. The original image may be a photograph or a detailed graphic. However, these images may contain hundreds or thousands of colors. So Yamamoto needs to use graphics software to reduce to around seven colors of farm field rice.

Here are some of the rice artworks. And you can follow Inakadate Village on Facebook to see more photos of the rice paddy art.

h/t: atlasobscura.com

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