How much do you know about rice? Definitely not as much as farmers in Japan! This country largely depends on rice as it is one of the main food sources and has been so for centuries, so no wonder there’s a whole festival dedicated to the celebration of annual rice harvest. Nothing goes to waste in Japan, not even leftover rice straw which is called ‘wara’ (hence, the festival’s name). You can use wara for a lot of things – improve soil, feed the livestock, and sometimes create giant awesome-looking sculptures of beastly creatures like they do in the Niigata Prefecture during the Wara Art Festival that takes place at Uwasekigata Park. We’ve picked some of the most thrilling rice straw sculptures from this year’s festival.
To celebrate the 10th anniversary the organizers of Wara Art Festival decided to make the sculptures twice as big. As if that were possible!
Special wooden frames are created to support the sculptures for better stability. The sculptures are so huge they just wouldn’t hold otherwise!
Designs are often versatile and include a variety of animals: large rhinos, fierce gorillas, enormous lions, giant crocodiles, and whatnot. Visitors are having fun because who doesn’t like to hang out among giant animals?
The Wara Art Festival is relatively young as it was first held in 2008.
People from Niigata’s farming community wanted to turn their rice straws into works of art so they contacted the Musashino Art University to get some advice.
Thus, a new creative direction was taken and the students of the university started turning excess straw into works of art. They haven’t stopped since then!
The festival may be over now, but you can still enjoy these exciting statues till the end of October, 2017.
Amy Goda is an aspiring local artist who came with the idea to make dinosaurs out of straw.
Amy Goda’s sculptures were so good that they became an Instagram hit and suddenly the whole world knew about the Wara Art Festival!
Of course, giant dinosaurs aren’t the only creatures that draw hundreds of visitors to the Uwasekigata Park each year.
Huge snakes also attract visitors’ attention!
Nothing can quite compare to standing inside a hippo’s wide-open mouth. And it’s completely safe!
If you look up close you can see the intricate details of the work done by the Musashino Art University students.
Huge carnivores look great, but how about giant ducks? They look awesome, too!
But then again, a giant crocodile is not something you get to see very often.