In Niigata Prefecture, locals say goodbye to the rice harvest season in a pretty creative way at the Wara Art Festival.
What a way to end a season. Each year on the last day of August, Japan’s Niigata Prefecture celebrates the end of the rice harvest in a rather elaborate (yet resourceful) fashion: creating rice straw sculptures.
Known as the Wara Art Festival, artists across the area transform the prefecture’s leftover wara (rice straw) into some truly stunning artwork, all available for public viewing.
Beyond pure artistic vision, each sculpture requires approximately one hundred bushels of straw, a team of workers and wooden frames, which serve as a “skeleton” for each sculpture.
All of the subsequent works are impressive in their own right, but one artist in particular stands out: Amy Goda. Since 2013, the local sculptor’s massive dinosaur creations have captured the Internet’s attention, bringing the Wara festival fans from all around the world.
Goda employs an array of techniques to create her straw statues, ranging from basket weaving to cottage thatching — even braiding. Whatever Goda’s process, her results are sturdy enough to allow festival goers to not just view her work, but fully interact with it. Festival patrons can pose on top of the giant effigies or stand underneath without fear of harm to themselves or Goda’s creations.
From time to time, sculptors create variations that can float on water, like the giant duck featured at this year’s event. Reaching heights of up to 16 feet, the at the Wara Art Festival are truly a sight to behold. If your allergies or thin wallet prevent you from viewing the straw sculptures yourself, we’ve got you covered: