Terraced Rice Paddies of Oyama Senmaida
The cultivation of the hillsides of mountain regions was a common sight throughout Japan, including Kamogawa, until the late 1970s. However, due to the increase in the use of machinery and an aging population of farmers, this landscape is rapidly disappearing. Within Kamogawa, the terraced rice paddies of Oyama Senmaida continue to be carefully maintained and cultivated to this day. The puzzle piece-like fields of the Oyama Senmaida fitting together to create curvy steps up the mountainside, are the very image of Japanese farming villages. Oyama Senmaida was recognized in 2002 as a “cultural landscape,” created mutually by people and nature, when it was designated by Chiba Prefecture as a Prefectural Landmark. Currently, the Oyama Senmaida are being maintained by the “owner system,” which works to contribute toward local revitalization by helping preserve this beautiful landscape and providing a place for urban dwellers to try their hand at farming.
For inquiries, please contact the Kamogawa Folk Museum (Phone: 04-7093-3800).
(Oyama Senmaida in the spring)
(Oyama Senmaida in the fall)
Terraced Rice Paddy Owner System
In recent years, the issue of Japan’s aging society has come to affect the management of rice fields as well. Plots of unused rice fields increase as farmers age and their children move away to big cities, leaving no one to tend to the family farms and rice paddies. To counter this problem, the Oyama Senmaida has introduced a land adopting system called the “owner system.” With this system, anyone can adopt a small plot of land and experience rice planting first-hand. This program is designed for anyone, such as metropolitan area residents, who are looking for a break from the hustle and bustle of big cities. The “owner system” allows owners to plant, cultivate, and harvest their very own rice.
Each step of rice production is taught by local farmers. Even if an owner cannot participate in one of the above activities, the paddies are under the constant supervision of Oyama Senmaida Preservation Society. All rice harvested at the end of the season will be given to the field’s owner (usually produces about 40kilogram of rice).
Registration Period: Every year from October to January
Owner Membership Fee: 30,000 yen per 100 sq. meters
Sample Schedule of Owner Events:
- (early March) Orientation
- (early May) Plant seeds
- (early June, late July, and mid-August) Mow grass
- (early September) Harvest rice crops
- (late September) Harvest festival
Kamogawa City Hall1450 Yokosuka
Kamogawa-shi, Chiba-ken, 296 JAPAN