The Painted Fields of Inakadate

“We have no sea and no mountains, but what we do have plenty of is rice,” said [Mayor Koyu] Suzuki, 70. “We have to create a tourism industry using our own ingenuity.”

The New York Times ran a sensational little story earlier this week, detailing how a once-obscure Japanese farming town called Inakadate became a tourist mecca through the simple magic of planting colored rice plants in patterns that resemble massive murals when viewed from the proper angle.

This year's display: a warrior monk facing off against a samurai. The photo of the art is stunning; it looks like someone Photoshopped simplified images of classic Japanese art onto an otherwise plain field of rice. CBS also offers a video that shares more views of the art crops.

A question is raised: Could something similar be achieved domestically, perhaps in the cornfields of Iowa? Of course, there's always South Dakota's Corn Palace ... and the seed art of the Minnesota State Fair ... and the criminally undermonetized phenomenon of crop circles ...

Image source: Flickr member dalangalma under Creative Commons

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