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For most of the year, the tiny town of Inakadate in Aomori Prefecture doesn’t get a lot of visitors. With only some 8,000 residents, most of whom make their living through agriculture, there’s not much to do there, unless you feel like staring at the farmers’ fields.

Every summer, though, droves of visitors come to do just that, as Inakadate’s rice paddies transform into gigantic works of art. And this year is no exception.

In 1993, Inakadate decided to create huge mosaics out of rice plants in order to drum up publicity for the town and attract tourists. The event was such a hit that it’s become an annual event that attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors.

While the most common variety of rice plant grows in bright green stalks, by planting differently colored strains in carefully selected positions, lines and shapes can be formed, as seen in this video uploaded by YouTube user MrKu427.

Up close, the designs may not look like much.

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Pull back far enough, though, and they’ll take your breath away.

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Shown here is a scene from the folk tale Hagoromo, in which a fisherman finds a magical coat of feathers belonging to a celestial dancer. The intricate image was created by utilizing 10 different types of rice plants.

Inakadate has devoted three fields to its art project this year. Zoomed into the second, we see a sail boat…

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…floating in the waters near Mt. Fuji, which was chosen to commemorate its newly acquired status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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The final field takes its inspiration from neither myth nor nature, but from anime, with an extra-long recreation of the cast of Sazae-san, which has been airing continually since 1969.

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Amazingly, it only takes about a month for the artwork to emerge. This series of photos shows how the field looked when planting began on June 1, with each subsequent shot coming roughly a week later and the final taken on July 10.

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Sadly, the beautiful designs will disappear just as quickly. If you’re interested in seeing Inakadate’s rice paddy art for yourself, you’ll want to make the trip up to Aomori by mid-August, because soon after that all that art will be harvested, and not too much later, it’ll be dinner.

Related: Inakadate official website
Source: Japaaan
Top image: YouTube
Insert images: YouTube, Inakadate