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Oura Terraced Rice Fields

"Tastes of JAPAN by ANA" is a regional vitalization project that collaborates with the different prefectures in Japan to present the Land of the Rising Sun in all of its diverse glory.

Saga has a number of terraced rice fields. Some of those fields have been selected in the Top 100 Terraced Rice Fields of Japan. In particular, Oura Terraced Rice Fields, which were added to that Top 100 list in July 1999, present a sight that is artistic in its beauty. The rice grown in these terraces is of high quality, blessed by quality water and sunlight. The terraces have been built on the slopes of a peninsula that juts out into the Genkai Sea. The curved ridges between the paddies create beautiful steps.

In summer, the scene overflows with green, and in autumn, the golden colors across the landscape and the red spider lilies present a beautiful contrast. The Oura terraced rice-fields were created from the Kamakura Period (1185 - 1333) to the Edo Period (1603 - 1868), and their history includes growing the rice to be presented to the local feudal domain. Today, the Oura terraces are believed to have around 1,000 individual rice-fields. Built on a hill that overlooks Imari Bay, these fields are a perfect spot for photographers and walkers.

In addition to Oura, this region also has the Warabino terraced rice fields, said to be the highest in Japan. Located on the northern slopes of Mount Hachimandake in Ouchi, the height of these fields and the sight of the sturdy stone walls are so majestic that they have been likened to the walls of a castle. Some of the stones used on the terraces are as large as a meter high and a meter wide. The tallest stone wall is 8.5 meters high, making it the highest of all rice terraces currently growing rice in Japan. Over a long period of time, these large stones have been piled up one by one, and the rice terraces have been formed along the side of the mountain. Today, they are carefully maintained by local farmers, presenting a beautiful Satoyama, or traditional rural scene. The Warabino brand rice (Yume-shizuku variety) grown on the rice terraces of Ouchi-cho is cultivated with pure water that is unadulterated with domestic gray water. It has gained a reputation as safe and delicious rice. In 1999, these rice terraces were recognized as one of Japan's top 100 terraced rice fields, and in 2008, they became the first rice terraces in Japan to be chosen as Important Cultural Scenery of Japan.

Finally, we have the terraced rice fields of Hamanoura. Like a staircase rising from the coast of the Genkai Sea, multiple interconnected layers of rice terraces cover the mountain slope, presenting different scenes of natural beauty depending on the weather of the day. In particular, in the period from the flooding and tilling of the fields to the planting of the rice seedlings in late April to early May, the setting sun dies the rice fields orange, making the formative art of the sea and the paddies and the ridges between them even more beautiful. Photographers come from all over Japan to capture that beauty. The ridges between the fields are stone walls that have been passed down since the Warring States and Edo Periods. The area has been recognized as one of Japan's top 100 terraced rice fields. In 2011, it was recognized as a Heritage of Saga.

Location

Name Oura Terraced Rice Fields
Web Sites (In Japanese) https://www.city.karatsu.lg.jp/bunka/tanbo/shizen/tanada-02.html
Address 728-1 Oura, Hizenmachi, Karatsu-shi, Saga
Inquiries TEL: 0955-53-7129 (Cultural Promotion Section, City of Karatsu)

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