Looking up at the Terraced Fields (Photo: Hanako Ward)

Ena Sakaori Tanada

A Contemplative Valley

By Justin Dart    - 3 min read

A strong image to Asia many people have is terraced rice fields. Found on the outskirts of Ena and only reachable by car, the Ena Sakaori Tanada terraced rice fields are truly a treasure of the Japanese ‘inaka’ or countryside. It is not a traditional tourist attraction but a place to escape to and take in the beauty of rural Japan. Don’t be surprised if you are the only person there apart from the odd rice farmer working in the fields.

Though the rice growing season is from around June to October, the beauty of the terraced fields can be appreciated at any time of the year with the ragged beauty of the small stones that make up the terraces. The fields are most spectacular in the summer months when the rice grows and becomes a brilliant green. Frogs can be seen hanging out in the rice fields enjoying the cool water and some bug appetisers while snakes slither among the rice stalks looking for their next meal. The integral relationship between nature and the basics of human nutrition are right in front of you. As we walked down the valley we felt hugged by all life around us. The pools of water in the fields capture and reflect anything that the rice plants don’t block in its view. Even when we looked down we could see the sky and mountains; all intertwined in a web of life. The line of mountains on the opposite side of the valley form a guard and are only broken by a small valley tucked in. We have been out to Ena Sakaori Tanada several times and have on a few occasions seen an artist putting this scenic view to paper.

There is a small car park up the mountain above the rice fields and also a limited space to barbecue. There are small roads and paths between the rice fields and it is definitely worth taking a walk down to the bottom of the rice fields to appreciate the beauty of the entire area. When we arrived at the bottom we followed a small stream up a path and discovered a large old wooden waterwheel overgrown shrubs. It was hard to find but it simply added charm to an already magical place. Nearby we found a small tadpole pond with some rickety wooden planks sufficing for a bridge, leading out to a large rock in the middle of the pond. We sat, relaxed and took in all that Ena Sakaori Tanada has to offer; the quiet beauty of a landscape providing a romantic outing for couples or just a contemplative space for oneself.

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Justin Dart

Justin Dart @justin.dart

I am a country boy transplanted from Wisconsin in the USA to central Gifu Prefecture.The main focus of my life in Japan has been to introduce people to the world and the world to local communities and culture through international exchanges and educational programs. My hope is that people will hang a right at Nagoya, get off the beaten path and explore Gifu...what I call The Jewel of Discoveries.アメリカの田舎で育った男、岐阜県の田舎に引っ越しました。ジャスティン・ダートです。僕の日本での生活は「世界を紹介し、世界の地域における文化と生活を、国際交流や教育プログラムを通して紹介する」という目標です。観光客が名古屋で右を曲がって、岐阜県の旅を試してみたいという希望を持っています。岐阜県:発見の宝。多年前,我从美国的乡村搬到日本岐阜県的中部。現在我最大的志向是向本地人介绍世界各地的文化及把当地文化介绍给世界各地的人。通过国际交流和教育方案,我希望會有更多的人开始去探索岐阜県的美丽与文化。

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suniuh 10 years ago
I am japanese. i think also that tnada is a treasure of the Japanese countrystyle. Tanada is in my hometown. It is serious to cultivate it. But, a beautiful scene can be seen if we looked down on from the top. So, I like Japanese tanada,too.
mai 10 years ago
My grandmother is from a farming family.She makes rice.But many rice fields are just flat plains.I have not yet Tnada directly.I want to go to watch beautiful Tanada.When I went to Gifu,I want to drop in.
yamamono 10 years ago
I like japanese rice field too. That landscape,the variety,changing with the four season. I hadn't been to Gifu prefucture. Therefure,of course I had not been to Ena city. But,I know of that place and its beauty by reading this article.
ohhmm 10 years ago
I am japanese. Tanada is beautiful and worthful spot for the Japanese too.
Not so imposing as Ena Sakaori Tanada, my grandfather who was a rice farmer has a terraced rice field. Most of the lands are nerrow so there are such fields scattered in Japan.
According to my father, the terrace was built at least 100 years ago. When I heard it, I was surprised at that aven the my grandfather's small field has so long history.
kaho 10 years ago
Nature is great that heals our heart.Today,nature is decreasing from Japan.I think that it is so sad.So,it is very good for us to go to Ena Sakaori Tanada.You are able to feel nature near yourself.I love nature and countryside.