Arao Rice Planting Festival

Planting Japan's staple crop

Venue: Hachimandai When: Late Jun 2021
Notice: The dates for this event are not yet confirmed. This page will be updated once the official date(s) are announced by the event organizers. Please check the official event site for the latest info.

The small town of Arao in the northwestern part of Kumamoto prefecture welcomes the rice planting season with a small festival celebrating this staple food in the Japanese diet. It's known as the Arao Rice Planting Festival, or Nobara Hachimangu Otaue-sai.

Arao’s agriculture heritage allegedly stretched back over a millennium. This history is celebrated in an hour-long festival at the rice paddies adjacent to the town’s Hachiman Shrine. Masked dancers kick off the event before local women in traditional dress move to the paddies for the planting. They’re often joined by local school children and Kumamon, the popular mascot of Kumamoto.

Getting there

Public transportation is very limited; for drivers, there is free parking in and around the shrine.

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Mandy Bartok

Mandy Bartok @mandy.bartok

Japan resident for 10+ years, with time spent in Okinawa, Kumamoto and Tokyo. 

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