See Rice Straw Transformed into Massive Animals at the Wara Art Festival

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One of the byproducts of Japan’s best known agricultural product take on impressive new forms at this creative, collaborative festival.

Niigata Prefecture is known for its rice – particularly Koshihikari – which benefits from fresh snowmelt water and other optimal growing conditions. Once this rice is harvested in autumn, there is plenty of rice straw, or wara, left over. This harvest remnant can be used to feed livestock or tilled back into the soil, but since 2008, an area of Niigata City has been holding an art festival where wara takes on fantastic new forms.

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As explained on Spoon & Tamago, the Wara Art Festival’s origins date back to 2006, when residents got in touch with Musashino Art University about using their excess rice straw for artistic purposes. Two years later, the festival kicked off in Uwasekigata Park, and has been going ever since.

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In honor of the festival’s 10th anniversary, organizers of the Wara Art Festival have created sculptures that are twice as large as they’ve made in previous years. They’ve also created a commemorative video, which you can see below:

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For more information about the Wara Art Festival, visit http://www.city.niigata.lg.jp/nishikan/about/kankou/wara-art/ (Japanese only) or check out their Facebook page. The sculptures will stay up until October 31.

Images via the Wara Art Festival Facebook Page

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