Onigitanada

Deep within Hasami, Japan lies a beautiful terraced rice field called, ‘Onigitanada`. Nestled within the mountainside, Onigitanada has a quiet, but tremendous presence within the landscape. Here, time seems to take a step back, and the tranquil life of the Japanese countryside can easily take a hold of you.

The name ‘Onigi` was given to this terraced rice field many years ago. Legend has it that while a villager was out hunting, he saw an enormous tree. This tree towered over all the others and the name ‘Onigi` was given to it. This eventually led to the name of Onigitanada.

Surround Yourself in Nature

If you close your eyes, you can feel the wind on your skin, hear the birds chirping in the distance, and hear a faint sound of water as it flows slowly down the mountainside into the rice paddies below. Rice terraces are said to be valuable in communicating with the past. They bring in the wisdom and nature of the past and convey the traditional landscape to the present.

Onigitanada will bring you back in time when many rice paddies were made on the side of the mountains. It was tough work back then, but we cannot deny its beauty. The Japanese had to make do with the land they had, and turned a normal mountainside, into a serene place.

It is currently unknown when Onigitanada came to be, but it is said to have been created during the middle of the Edo period. The process of building the rice field was laborious and likely took many years. Going to Onigitanada, however, you can see the process in which each stone was meticulously stacked in order to create each separate patty field.

Top 100 Terraced Rice Field in Japan

Onigitanada is one of the top 100 terraced rice fields in all of Japan. Terraced rice fields have been slowly fading away as the implementation of agricultural machinery has given less need for those type of fields, so seeing Onigitanada is really special. The people of Hasami take great care into its upkeep, and this is evident by the beauty Onigitanada emits.

Not only is the view spectacular, but the hospitality of the Hasami townspeople is also warm and welcoming. At the base of the mountain is a small building dedicated to showing the historical tools and talking about the process used in the production of rice.

Onigi Rice Terrace Festival

Every year on September 23rd, Hasami also hosts a scarecrow event at Onigitanada. People from all over Japan come to see the 200+ handcrafted scarecrows that are on exhibit. Each year over 7,000 people come to take part in this event.

This is a fun event to go to with family and friends, and it is always fun to see the various types of scarecrows that the people of Hasami have made. In addition to the scarecrows, this festival also offers many fun games and activities to take part in.

During this time, we are able to see the rice field in full bloom. The rice patty is blanketed in a deep green color, blowing gracefully in the autumn wind.

The autumn time also gives birth to the Higanbana flower. Another name for Higanbana is ‘red spider lily`. The bright colors of this flower are said to guide souls into the afterlife, but more prominently, is that seeing this flower is a sign that summer is ending, and autumn is on the way. This flower has beautiful red petals that appear to be reaching out towards the warmth of the sun.

Great Viewing Spots

The town of Hasami has made it quite easy to view Onigitanada. There is a road in place (although quite narrow) that will take you around the circumference of the Onigi Rice Terrace. On this road, there are two main areas to park and take a look at the beautiful terraced rice field.

The two parking areas are located at opposite sides of Onigitanada, so you can have a view from many possible angles. There are many Japanese rice fields, but few have the view that Onigitanada offers.

Onigitanada is open at all hours, year-round. There is no entrance cost or closing time to be able and view the terraced rice field. This is great because even the time of day will give different views. The morning in Hasami and around Onigitanada is filled with a slight mist and accompanied by the smell of crisp, fresh air.

During the evening, the sun behind the mountain that Onigitanada is nestled in between can be seen. Since Hasami is a small town, light pollution is also minimal. This gives the night sky an even bigger shimmer, as the stars are brighter and easier to see.

Onigitanada is located 11 minutes from the town center. Going by car is the best option, however, there are many services that would be able to take you there as well, including a taxi service or going with a tour guide. From the tourist information center, electric bicycles are also available for rent.

No matter how you get to Onigitanada, I am sure you will not regret it. Onigitanada is wonderfully kept and is beautiful to look at. Surround yourself in nature and relax in the quiet atmosphere that is Onigitanada.

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