Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Nostalgic scenery of early summer at Asuka Village

When I took these pictures in late June right after the farmers finished planting rice seedlings to the paddies, it was relatively cool with rainfall on and off.  In two weeks, it got sweltering in heat as the rainy season came to an early end.
Hosokawa area
Terraced fields and paddies are common in the countries with vigorous slopes.  In Japan, where about 73 percent of land is mountainous with scattered plains and inter-mountain basins only about 25 percent, there are many places noted for the beautiful terraced paddies.  Asuka, Nara Prefecture, is one of them.  Terraces are farmed by hand. 

This is a vantage point overlooking the Hosokawa area.

There were a lot of terraced paddies throughout Japan, but it has become difficult to keep rice cultivation there because of the drastic drop and aging of agricultural population.  To keep the landscape and traditions, which have sustained generations for centuries,  some voluntary people have been working with the initiatives by the communities in recent years.

Frequent rainfall is needed by the farmers during the rice-planting time which falls on the start of the early smmer rainy season.  


I like to see the blue skies in the rice paddies filled with water.

Hosokawa area in the drizzle
Mosaic-like landscape of rice terraces would be a work of art created by farmers for the purpose of producing food.  The terraces blend in with the natural scenery and give visitors a great sense of peace and comfort. 

One of just another ordinary scenes between the paddies

The Asuka River flows through thousands of years.
The locals in the area lead a life that has changed little over the years.

Asuka is one of the most important spiritual and cultural assets of Japan.

See how it is so in autumn.
On a sunny autumn day at Inabuchi, Asuka Village
 Strolling around Asuka.


  1. Blue skies and clouds hidden in the rice paddies do add a sense of wonderment to the scene. These patterns and creations are truly artistic and as you have said very much like a tapestry that I would gladly have hanging on my wall. Keeping up with agricultural traditions seems to be a challenge everywhere!

  2. Exuberante y precioso reportaje!

  3. Zawsze podziwałam ( na zdjęciach, filmach) urawy ryżu na polach tarasowych. To jest widok niepowtarzalny i piekny. Widać to zresztą na Twoich cudownych zdjęciach. Pozdrawiam.
    I've always admired (in photos, videos) urawy rice terraced fields. This is the view of the unique and beautiful. You can see it anyway for your wonderful pictures. Yours.

  4. The landscape is so different from anything that we see here - a rich green tapestry created by man. I do hope that the tradition will continue to survive.

  5. おはようございます。美しい風景ですね。 棚田や田んぼには郷愁を感じます。

  6. Wet and green and glorious. The landscape creates a mosaic of texture and color. Growing food becomes art through your photos.

  7. Fico sempre encantada em vir aqui.

    Uma linda semana

  8. Lovely serie... Thanks for sharing !
    Best regards from Paris,


  9. 今、農業は人口面でも価格の自由競争を受け入れる面でも大きな転換期を迎えようとしています。これらの風景を見ながら太古以来続いてきた日本の農業の未来を考えさせられました。

  10. I love the shades of green, the entire view is artistic... like a beautiful painting. The step fields are something I have seen in India too, in the mountainous regions and these look similar. And as you said, I could feel the peace descend on me as I read through your post. This is simply beautiful.

    Wish you cooler days, Yoko. In India, we are still in the midst of rainy season.

  11. Beautiful pictures of terraced fields of rice !
    You blog is like a "Japan Tales"...
    Have a great and cool day !

  12. 美しい伝統の棚田が護られ引き継がれていることに、コミュニティーや携わる方々の意識や努力に感謝したいですね。後世に残して行ってほしい風景です。今、私は朝のパン食からお米に切り替えています。お米のおいしさや栄養価を再発見していますが、農家の方々の努力が報われるものであってほしいです。

  13. 稲淵は行った事がありますが、ほそかわは、ありません。多分。飛鳥は棚田をもつ地区がおおいのですね。この間行ってきた長崎の山間にもたくさんの棚田が散在してました。観光客が見やすいように車道を上のほうまで作ったり、大きな道路に”棚田、こちら”なんて標識があって、私達にとっては、親切でしたが。

  14. 雄大な棚田ですね。かなり歩いて高い所に登られたみたいですね。雨が降らないのを心配した梅雨でしたが、数日のドカ雨で救われました。今年の秋の豊作を祈って!!始まったばかりの夏ですが元気で乗り越えましょう。

  15. Such beautiful countryside. There is such an orderliness to the rice paddies. I hope they will continue to be farmed for many years to come.

  16. wonderful shots Yoko......thank you for your bio...your blog lovely as always..

  17. Thanks to you, Yoko, Japan unravels its charm and looks more and more attractive. You are doing a great job! I've seen lots of terraced vineyards and fields in Italy, Austria, Spain, Portugal but these "paddies" (thank you for a new word!) are a mystery. Unbelievable how these water mirrors exist on different levels.

  18. Oh, I love the emerald terraces of the rice fields. (I worked in a rice field once - very hard work!)

    What lovely shots and words. Enjoy your summer - hope it doesn't get too hot.

  19. Dear Yoko, I almost missed this wonderful post! But now I traveled around that place in all seasons and it is beautiful beyond imagination. It is a paradise, a wonderful landscape - I so wish it could be like that forever!
    You are a master photographer, all your pictures are perfect and pretty!

  20. Beautiful photos Yoko!
    The rice terraces look like land sculpture but I'm sure that to most farmers they mean hard work.Everywhere people are leaving the land,they have been doing so for a long time......where will this lead,we must have food but we expect others to produce it for us.Small farms are more in tune with nature and support wildlife but they often don't provide enough income.It's encouraging to know that volunteers are rising to the challenge.
    Here we are having lovely weather,as you noticed,temperatures mid to late 20's.Scottish weather is unpredictable!

    Happy weekend,

  21. It's a great landscape which we should preserve. Since I'm a city planner, I'll do my best. :D

  22. Yoko, I think you live in some kind of fairy world!
    The rice fields do create a sculptural landscape, like an ancient Roman or Greek theatre.
    Your pictures are lush and green, so full of beauty. I can see that it would be a spiritual place to visit, to connect with your higher self and feel enlightenment.

    Weekend Blessings,

  23. こんにちわ。





  24. hello, great photos, wonderful blog. welcome to my blog. Yours :)

  25. What a delightful, lush place. I'm sure that the beauty of the area and the rice paddies belie the hard work that is involved in farming rice. I've not seen terraced rice paddies other than in pictures, but your photos bring them to life. (We had rice paddies south of Houston in Texas - not on terraces, though). Asuka is one of nature's wonders. Thank you for sharing these beautiful photos!

    Lois Anne is doing well. We've had a couple of setbacks (fever) but antibiotics took care of that. And our daughter and family came up from south Florida for a few days which was fun as we'd not seen them for over a year! Thank you for caring!

    Best wishes for many good days ahead!

  26. Hello, blog hopping and found your beautiful blog.

    Nice post. Japan is a magnificent country. How I wish to visit Japan one day !

    Please visit mine too and feel free to add comments.


  27. Thanks a lot ! I am honored by your visit to my blogs and comment.

    Hope you will visit again and add comments.

    Added your beautiful blog to my blog follow and subscribed to your feeds so that I will not miss a single of your posts in future.

    Please add me in your circles if you have google plus.

    Thanks again and happy blogging !

  28. We have padi(rice)fields too as rice is a staple diet like in most Asian countries. However your photos captured them most beautifully. Its almost magical.

  29. Hello Yoko.
    What a landscape! It is really like a work of art. And such brilliant photography.
    Grethe ´)

  30. I love the idea that the rice paddies have been created on the steep hillsides of Japan by farmers over thousands of years. I hope that the tradition will continue, in spite of the small and ageing agricultural population. With every one of your blog posts, I want to visit Japan even more. Beautiful pictures!

  31. so beautiful and green! i like the terraced farming! really gorgeous!

  32. 日本の風景ですねぇ。こういう景色を見ると心が落ち着きます。

  33. Yokoさん こんにちは!
     田園風景をこれほど魅力的に撮られるのは、Yokoさんが日本の原風景を愛されているからでしょうね。狭い土地の有効利用の為だけだはなく、おそらく日当たりも考慮され 山の斜面に水を引き作られた稲田、そこに几帳面に植えられた稲。通路に等間隔に植えられた紫陽花。このような知恵を持ち、作業ができる日本人は素晴らしいと、改めて思いました。

  34. Upea ja kaunis Japani. Ihmiset on siellä ahkeria kun tekee paljon käsin pelto työtä. Me Suomessa syömme riisiä mutta kukaan ei näe miten riisi kasvaa vain kuvissa näkee ja tuntuu aika rankalta. Arvostan paljon kuviasi kiitos on ilo katsoa niitä. Kiitos myös visiitti minun blogissa. tervehdys Suomesta, meillä on vielä kesä yksi kuukausi..sitten on taas syksy, toinen kauneus on syysruska

  35. HiYoko,
    this time it looks like I'm the last guy on Earth writing a comment unter your post.
    Always expect the unexpected!;-)
    I'm right prior my trip to northern Italy, one of the rare regions in Europe where rice is cultivated, too.
    But the paddy fields in Italy are not that picturesque like the terraced fields in your country. I believe that Italian rice fields are far away from any spirituality! Nevertheless: The Italian rice species, especially cultivated for Italian rice cuisine like 'risotto' are normally of great quality. But certainly there's a big difference between your Japanese and the Italian way, culture and tradition of treating and dealing with rice.
    Thanks for sharing your wonderful and carefully taken photos of this unique landscape, Yoko.
    Try to make the best out of your hot summer,

  36. neat. thanks for the look.

    we have got so much extra rain in Canada this year some people joke we should plant rice not corn.


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