Niigata Wara Art Festival: Come See Giant Straw Beasts Rule Japan

  • The rice harvest is on the way and usually you would expect a whole bunch of leftover rice straw (wara) are expected to accumulate and be thrown away. But definitely, this would not be the case in Japan.

    Rather than disposing of them at the end of this season, Niigata and Kagawa prefectures will hold a Wara Art Festival which primarily features huge beasts and other sculptures made of dried rice straw.

    And take note, we’re not just talking about human-sized sculptures here. We mean those works that could measure as high as 16 feet and more, depending on what figure the artist would like to create.

    The popularity of these unique artworks began in 2013 when a local artist named Amy Goda, started to create some artistic, gargantuan designs. So attractive are her works that news of their creation soon spread like wildfire through the web, eventually attracting a lot of tourists both from Japan and from all around the world.

    Preparing for the Wara Art Festival

    So how exactly do you get one huge effigy up and ready for display?

    One sure thing is, it takes more than just a single person to do the entire thing. The procedure begins with stacking up piles of straw which will serve as the outer covering of the figure you want to create. The more straw, the better.

    Then comes the creation of a sort of blueprint that will guide the team of workers on how to set up the skeleton, which is made from wooden frames and will serve as the solid foundation for the structure to stand.

    As soon as these things are gathered, the group can then start building it up.

    Most Popular Designs

    While there are a variety of designs that are loved by visitors, there are few notable ones that really stood out from the crowd not just of their sheer huge size but also due to the intricacy of details placed on them.

    The giant Tyrannosaurus Rex and Triceratops created by Amy Goda is among the top attractions. Insect designs such as the praying mantis is also a big favorite. For those who would like to see some works that float on water, then that giant duck anchored on a pond is a must-see.

    Those who are fans of some prehistoric creatures will be amazed by the display of some mammoths and giant tortoise and bugs that perfectly capture the mood of what it’s like to live in a place when dinosaurs and huge creatures ruled the earth.

    There’s a whole lot more of exciting, awe-inspiring sculptures waiting for you out there. So if you plan on visiting Japan at the end of the fall season, then don’t miss dropping by Niigata or Kagawa Prefecture and treat yourself to a fun-filled escapade with the giant beasts! Pack up your gadgets to take some photos of the new designs this year!

    Nigata City Wara Art Festival*Automatic translation

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