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Shinshiro-City Yotsuya Senmaida Terraced Rice terraces

  • Yotsuya Senmaida Terraced Rice terraces
  • Yotsuya Senmaida Terraced Rice terraces
  • Yotsuya Senmaida Terraced Rice terraces
  • Yotsuya Senmaida Terraced Rice terraces
  • Yotsuya Senmaida Terraced Rice terraces
  • Yotsuya Senmaida Terraced Rice terraces

Yotsuya Senmaida, The 1,000 Terraced Rice terraces of Yotsuya

On the outskirts of Shinshiro City and at the foot of 883m high Mt. Kurakake in eastern Aichi Prefecture, are the terraced rice growing fields of the Yotsuya Senmaida, Translated, senmaida means “1,000 rice terraces”, and there are in fact 1,296 rice terraces, averaging 90 m2 on the hillside at Yotsuya.

The retaining walls making the various levels of terracing are created using rocks, carefully placed in the same way that castle walls were constructed. The amount of time, and labor intensive effort required to build the terraces must have been enormous. This truly is an incredible feat of engineering from 400 years ago.

The narrowest of the fields are just over a meter wide, and there can be over 100 meters difference in elevation between the lowest and highest terraces. Because of the steep levels, differing sizes and irregular shapes, modern machinery can’t be used, and so tending to the fields, planting, reaping and maintenance is all done in the traditional manner, by hand, a time-consuming and laborious job. Rice farming on the terraces is no longer economical at current world markets. Even so, 22 rice farmers continue to till the land, assisted by government subsidies, to produce high quality rice.

The Future of the Fields

Yotsuya Senmaida Terraced Rice terraces

Being labor intensive work, the increasing costs of working low yield terraces, the problem of Japan’s graying society and rural depopulation have resulted in the terraces falling into disrepair in recent years. Realizing the value in preserving the paddies and traditional farming practices, as well as the importance of the terraces in water retention and erosion control has lead to the combined efforts of local government and owner adoption systems to revitalize the rice terraces.

Yotsuya Senmaida Terraced Rice terraces

The terraced landscapes are enjoyable all year round, with the views changing with the seasons. In late spring the paddies are irrigated for planting, and on a still day depending on your vantage point, mirror the sky, clouds, surrounding hills and forests. By mid summer the rich green of the growing rice is a most refreshing sight. Autumn sees the ripe rice turn a stunning golden yellow, the brightness contrasting with the deep greens of the surrounding trees and mountains. In the winter, the terraces are bare, however, the effort exerted in building and maintaining the hundreds of steps can be more easily appreciated.

Yotsuya Senmaida Terraced Rice terraces

Spring is a good time to visit the various Senmaida rice paddies, as many Rice Planting Festivals are staged by the locals. Dressed in traditional farming wear, the festivals are held right in the rice paddies themselves, with song and dances performed to thank the gods for last year’s crops and pray for a bumper harvest. Locals and visitors alike are encouraged to participate in the planting, so if you don’t mind getting damp and dirty, hop right in and enjoy rural hospitality!

Yotsuya Senmaida Terraced Rice terraces

The Yotsuya Senmaida terraced rice terraces are a remote, unique and fascinating scene of traditional farming techniques, developed through a need for land, and greater rice crops. Most of Japan’s few remaining Senmaida are located out in the middle of nowhere. Although they are beautiful, they are difficult to both find and get to, facilities are few and far between, they are pretty much unknown and under-appreciated, rarely visited and barely promoted as tourist destinations.

And that’s what makes a visit to them so special!

SPOT OVERVIEW

  • Parking
Location : 〒441-1942
230, Yotsuya, Shinshiro-City, Aichi
Fee : Free
Parking : 20 parking spaces
Holidays : None
Phone number : 0536-32-0022 (Shinshiro City Tourism Association)

Note: This page may not be current due to update time differences between site databases.
Should accuracy be critical, please verify this information using a direct source, whenever possible.

ACCESS

  • Access by public transport
    Access by public transport
    ・From Toyohashi Station, take the JR Iida line. Alight at Hon-Nagashino Station and take Toyotetsu Bus Taguchi Line. Alight at "Takigami" stop and 40 minutes walk.
    * Bus operation is subject to change. Please check before you leave.
    Or 25 minutes by taxi.
  • Access by car
    Access by car
    Drive north in the direction of Shinshiro from the Tomei Expressway Toyokawa I.C., turn left at the "Arumi" intersection on Route 151, turn right at the "Nagara" intersection on Route 257, turn left at the "Ebi" intersection, turn right at the "Ebiikegaitsu" intersection before Iname Tunnel, and you will be at the destination.

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