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Japan’s 5 Most Beautiful Rice Terraces

The terraced rice fields of Japan, are integral to the nation's cultural DNA. Carved into the foliage of the rugged mountainsides across the map, from the snow-capped mountains of Niigata to the islands of Nagasaki, they not only produce one of the country's most important foods but also have over centuries laid the foundation of the nation's landscape. Equal parts visually beautiful and historically significant, here are some of the best.

Japan’s 5 Most Beautiful Rice Terraces

Index

  • Hirado Kasuga no Tanada, Nagasaki Prefecture

  • Maruyama Senmaida, Mie Prefecture

  • Shiroyone Senmaida, Ishikawa Prefecture

  • Hamanoura Rice Terraces, Saga Prefecture

  • Hoshitoge, Niigata Prefecture

  • Hirado Kasuga no Tanada, Nagasaki Prefecture

    Hirado Kasuga no Tanada, Nagasaki Prefecture

    Hirado Kasuga no Tanada, Nagasaki Prefecture

    Kasuga is a stunning agricultural village located along the west coast of Hirado, a smattering of scenic islands that make up part of Nagasaki Prefecture. Practically untouched by tourism, it’s a well-kept secret, one you’ll want to share, but only with those you know will respect its historical beauty and rich spiritual legacy. During the times of Portuguese trade, this area was predominantly home to communities of the hidden Christians of Nagasaki, which is why it’s still known as the “Holy Land of Hirado.” Constructed with a thorough understanding of the landscape and a deep appreciation for nature these picturesque terraced fields have remained the same for the past 400 years. To learn more about the site pop by the visitor center nearby. Hirado may not be the most accessible area of Japan, but once you get there, you’ll agree it’s worth the extra effort.

  • Maruyama Senmaida, Mie Prefecture

    Maruyama Senmaida, Mie Prefecture

    Maruyama Senmaida, Mie Prefecture

    Running layered up the mountainside west of Kumano city in Mie Prefecture sits Maruyama Senmaida, a stunning piece of man-made agricultural landscaping. The terrace was constructed over 400 years ago and has stood the test of time to remain one of the prefecture's most beautiful landscapes. Because of its unique shape, many of the small fields here vary in size quite wildly with some fields just a meter wide; this means they must be tended to rather painstakingly by hand. If you’re taking the hike along the Iseji Route of the Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage to Kumano Hongu-Taisha Shrine, keep a lookout for this magnificent view.

    Maruyama Senmaida
    Address
    Mie Pref. Kumanoshi Kiwachoumaruyama
    Phone
  • Shiroyone Senmaida, Ishikawa Prefecture

    Shiroyone Senmaida, Ishikawa Prefecture

    Shiroyone Senmaida, Ishikawa Prefecture

    With its rugged, untamed beauty, Noto peninsula in Ishikawa Prefecture is an excellent destination for those who want to experience a wilder side of Japan. With the sprawling Chirihama Beach and strange rock formations of the Kongo Coast there’s no shortage of natural attractions to admire. One place that should be atop your itinerary is Shiroyone Senmaida, the 1,000 rows of rice terraces that layer up from the sea to the roadside. Strategically positioned to soak up the ocean mist, these lush green fields are stunning all year round, but especially so in spring when the warm sunset reflects off the watersoaked fields casting a vibrant natural light show.

    Shiroyone Senmaida (A Thousand Rice Paddies in Shiroyone)
    Address
    Ishikawa Pref. Wajimashi Shiroyonemachi
    Phone
  • Hamanoura Rice Terraces, Saga Prefecture

    Hamanoura Rice Terraces, Saga Prefecture

    Hamanoura Rice Terraces, Saga Prefecture

    Home to another stunning natural light show are the fields of Hamanoura rice terraces in Saga Prefecture. Flanked by valley walls, and facing out to the Genkai sea, these fields are tucked cozily between the neighboring mountains. It’s impressive any time of day, but especially so in the evening. As the sun sets over the ocean backdrop, it casts a purple-pink light that reflects off the sea and bounces along the waterlogged rice terraces, creating a mosaic-style illusion that’s truly magnificent.

    Terraced Rice Fields of Hamanoura
    Address
    Saga Pref. Higashimatsuragungenkaichou Hamanoura
    Phone
    0955522199
  • Hoshitoge, Niigata Prefecture

    Hoshitoge, Niigata Prefecture

    Hoshitoge, Niigata Prefecture

    Niigata is a prefecture known for producing some of the nation’s best rice and sake, plenty of which comes from Hoshitoge, a rice terrace nestled along the mountains of the Matsudai region. Although this area is becoming a popular tourist attraction, it’s also the livelihood of many of Niigata’s local farmers, and must always be respected to ensure its long-term survival. As the light bounces off the mountainside the fields resemble shiny scales of a fish; it's a scene that attracts many photo fanatics who make the pilgrimage to try and capture its lush beauty.

    Hoshitoge terraced rice fields
    Address
    Nigata Pref. Tokamachishi Touge
    Phone
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