Things I love about Japan: Rice Fields in the Countryside

I have a confession: I’m addicted to Japanese rice fields.

tanbo rice field japan photo inaka countryside beautiful

Not addicted in the traditional sense, though. I haven’t ever helped plant, take care of, or harvest a rice field in Japan. I eat just as much rice as everyone else, no more no less. I don’t want to actually own my own rice field.

No, my love for rice fields is purely visual.

I love watching the wind play over the tips of the stalks of grass. The sight of green waves, crashing over each other in contrast to the blue sky… well, it calms me.

tanbo rice field japan photo inaka countryside beautiful

I could sit outside for hours, watching. In fact, I often do.

I’ve gotten up at sunrise (which is like 4:30am now, because it’s the summer) to watch the sun slowly illuminate the fields. I’ve gone out at sunset, in my same little chair, to watch how the colors of the sunset play with the waves of green. Most days when I’m biking to the station or the supermarket, I will stop for five minutes along the way and just breathe in the sight.

It doesn’t matter how many times I look at rice fields, they still take my breath away.

tanbo rice field japan photo inaka countryside beautiful

I realized my love for rice fields while Ryosuke and I were living in Tokyo. Every month we visited his parents out in Ibaraki. And every month, we would borrow their car and go driving on the small roads in between rice fields.

Rysosuke would park the car by the side of the dirt road and we would sit on the ledge with a carton of peach tea and a bag of potato chips, and chat about life while I watched the rice fields. Sometimes we would only stay for ten minutes; other times we would stay for over an hour.

tanbo rice field japan photo inaka countryside beautiful

It depended on how long it took me to feel at peace.

I realized that the stress of living in the city was taking a toll on me. And actually, we decided to move out to the countryside once Ryosuke quit his job during one of our trips to the rice fields.

Now we’re surrounded on all sides by these beautiful, green rice fields.

I get to see them every day.

And I’m really, really happy about that.

tanbo rice field japan photo inaka countryside beautiful

Of course, the summer is ending now, so they’ve begun harvesting the rice fields.

And they’ve gone back to plots of dirt (which, of course, is sad). All good things have to end, I guess.

About Grace Buchele Mineta

I got into the writing business by accident. Now I live in the countryside near Tokyo with my husband, Ryosuke, where I draw comics, blog, and make videos about our daily life. Contact: Website | More Posts

19 Comments on Things I love about Japan: Rice Fields in the Countryside

  1. I used to live in Oyama, Tochigi about 8 years ago, and I loved driving through the countryside, and just having little rice and vegetable crops in the streets around my house! I miss that in Okinawa.

  2. Auntie Leilani // 29 September, 2015 at 4:57 am //

    Can you hear the rice fields? I live in small forest on a mountainside in Hawaii. The wind moving through the trees sounds just like the surf down at the shoreline, 2,000′ below — same rhythm, same cadence.

  3. I’m glad that your country life lets you have more time with the rice fields! The winter fields can be sad, but I love it when the rice plants come back each year.

  4. I have always loved your blog but I have been enjoying it even more since you moved to the countryside!

    The rice fields look so beautiful – as someone who has only ever seen Japan in Winter I would love to see the green of the countryside there in other seasons. The wind making waves in the grasses is such a beautiful image.

  5. Yes, you can look forward to next summer when the rice fields will be green again. In fall, enjoy the changing colors of the trees. Japan is very beautiful that way!

  6. Ah but it’s something to look forward to every season. ♥ And it really does sound beautiful. *sigggghhh*
    Every time I read your posts, I get inspired and sad at the same time. I want to visit Japan, and travel a bit more. Just can’t yet. :/
    But I do love reading about your experiences.

  7. It’s beautiful sights like these that make me thank God I’m alive. ? I hope to see them in person one day. I have a feeling I’ll be just as addicted as Grace.

  8. One of the things I liked best about living in a small city (I lived in Fuji-shi in Shizuoka-ken) was that there were still rice paddies mixed in with the urban and suburban development. Once you got outside of the core “downtown” section of the city, you never knew when a city block of apartments and storefronts would be followed by a block segmented into four or eight rice fields. And they were multi-use fields, turned over for winter cabbage and other vegetables after the rice had been harvested.

  9. S. J. Pajonas (spajonas) // 20 September, 2015 at 11:50 pm //

    This sounds lovely.

  10. When you love the fields in Japan you should try to see at some point rice terraces in china. It is truly amazing how they created to terraces on steep mountain sides so long time ago and still work them for many generations

  11. Rice fields are beautiful, though I have only seen them in pictures. :)

  12. I feel this post! Seeing the fields glowing in the summer sun makes me feel alive. I also like them in early spring, when they are full of water with no sprouts yet…like giant mirrors laid over the land. And then about in June there’s still lots of water but the green comes poking up…beautiful.

  13. Lovely post, the feeling you describe reminds me of that song by Sting, “Fields of Gold”.

  14. I would love to wake up to a view of endless rice fields outside my window (or even just a short ride away). Was one of the first things I imagine whenever my japanese teacher would talk about the culture aspect of japan.

  15. You make me miss Japan and its simple but overwhelming beauty and way of life. I love rice fields too, although I spent more time in Vietnam’s than in Japan. But I agree, there’s something about the rice fields that makes me want to just sit and admire for long periods of time.

  16. I guess any frolicking in the fields would hurt the rice. It would be fun to try though.

  17. Beautiful fields.

  18. The waves of green have only receded with the tide of the seasons, it will be back again.<3

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