Niigata City, on Japan’s west coast, is home to mountainous national parklands, onsen hot springs and, once a year, a park full of monstrous rice sculptures.
Every autumn, after the annual rice harvest, no leftover straw (or wara) goes to waste. Whatever isn’t fed to livestock or used as fertiliser is repurposed to weave the colossal animal sculptures.
The festival at Uwasekigata Park first kicked off in 2008, after Niigata’s farming community contacted Musashino Art University for some creative solutions for repurposing their excess straw. Every year since then, students have flocked to the park to help construct the sculptures.
This year marks the Wara Art Festival’s 10-year anniversary and, in celebration of the milestone, artists are making this year’s sculptures twice as big, meaning they require special sturdy wooden frames to support their weight.
The sculptures will stay on display at Uwasekigata Park until the end of October.
(All Images: WARA ART / Facebook)