The theme of this year is “Thank you Heisei, Go for it! Reiwa”. Five kinds of seedlings were planted on a rice field of 4,000 square meters to draw the pattern. On June 29 (Sat.) and June 30 (Sun.), a rice planting event for rice field art will be held. The participation fee is free and lunch will be provided to participants. We are looking forward to seeing many people with their family and friends.
The venue will be set up with a nine-meter-high viewing platform to see the art and the beautiful countryside spreading around it. A rice field art sunset party will be held before Obon, which is the best time to see rice field art. It will be very crowded because it is a place where local people gather, so please come and check it out.
In Minamikyushu, there is a scenic spot called Banshobana Natural Park where Tadanori Ino, who surveyed the whole country in order to create a map of Japan, described it as “the superb view of Japan”. It has a panoramic view of the natural rock reefs that depict beautiful curves created by volcanic activity decades ago and erosion of the sea, and the Kaimondake, one of Japan’s hundred mountains called Satsuma Fuji.
Many historical sites related to Buddhism are found in the Kawabe area. The largest is about the size of 200 Kyomizu Maga Buddhas, carved 20 meters high and 400 meters wide on a cliff along the Manosegawa River that flows into the Iwaya Park. It was created in the Heian period in the old days, and has a high historical value and a stately atmosphere. There’s also a campsite in the park and you can enjoy it season by season with seasonal events such as cherry blossoms and autumn leaves. Every year in November, the Kawanabe Maga Buddhas Matsuri is held and it is packed with various events. Please be sure to visit Minamikyushu, which is full of attractions from the coastline to the rural landscape.
The rice paddy art event started in Minamikyushu in Kagoshima Prefecture, after the mayor was impressed by the rice paddy art at their sister city, Hirakawa in Aomori Prefecture (at Inakadate Village) and thought that they should hold the same themed event along the river side in his city. Going along with his idea the volunteers tried to make it happen by gaining support from outside of the city as well, and now it will be the eighth year for them to hold the rice paddy art event.
This year will be the 150th anniversary of the Meiji Restoration in which Takamori Saigo, a native of Kagoshima Prefecture (Satsuma,) played an important role, so the theme of the rice paddy art is Saigo-don which is broadcast now by NHK Taiga Drama. The design features the main character “Saigo-don,” performed by Ryohei Suzuki, and Minamikyushu’s main mascot “Ochamurai” together on the backdrop of Sakurajima Island.
On Saturday around the Obon season, they will hold the event “Rice paddy art evening party” with the hope that those who return to their home during Obon season can enjoy their local activities. This city produces the best sweet potatoes as well as green tea in Japan, and is also known as “Satsuma’s little Kyoto” as this townscape is so beautiful and laid out like a miniature garden. You can also see “Chiran’s samurai residence” which was the shooting location for this Taiga drama. Why don’t you stay in relax at this nostalgic Minamikyushu while enjoying these historical sites? This summer, you will be impressed when you see their new rice paddy art.