Life in Japan in Photos: Rice Fields of Fukui

anime photography
This is the start of something new for Otaku Lounge. While I’ll still absolutely be keeping up with the seasonal anime posts and more occasional miscellaneous posts about Japanese music, film, fashion, and general culture, I also felt the need to try something new.

I first moved to Japan in 2012 and since that time, I’ve travelled extensively around the country and taken a large number of photos in the process. Not just photos of your typical major sightseeing spots – castles, temples, shrines, etc. – but also day-to-day photos of my more immediate surroundings and environments. And I feel like some of these photos I’ve taken are (maybe, kinda, possibly, sort of) decent, and that I’d like to post them in order to share with readers not just the photos themselves, but also the various stories or experiences behind them. Although I’ve usually been quite leery in the past of giving too much away about my personal life on Otaku Lounge (and still am to some degree), I’m also hoping to break down a few barriers with these posts and give the blog something of an added personal touch.

rice fields fukui

Having spent 4 years living in Ehime – a prefecture on Shikoku known primarily for its mandarin oranges – I moved to Fukui prefecture in early 2017. While rice fields are a ubiquitous feature of Japan no matter where you travel in the country, rice production is one of Fukui’s largest industries. More specifically, in 2017 it was ranked no. 6 out of Japan’s 47 prefectures in terms of the amount of rice the prefecture produces annually, at 130,700 tons. 91% of Fukui’s farmland is used to cultivate it. Both the rice itself and the rice wine made from it (i.e. nihonshuu, better known as ‘sake’ overseas) are considered to be of especially high quality, largely due to Fukui’s extremely clean water, and many Fukui residents are very proud of this fact. Indeed, one of Japan’s most popular and famous rice brands, Koshihikari, was created in Fukui in 1956.

What this means for me? A lot of excellent rice in my meals, particularly in the school lunches I usually eat alongside the kids, and the above view at the back of my apartment building. In the summer, the young rice plants are a sharp, bright green, which gradually ripen into a warmer, yellower hue before being harvested in early autumn. I took this particular photo last September, just a week or so before cropping began.

Question of the post: What’s the biggest industry in the area you live? Do you think it adds any beauty to your surroundings?

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30 thoughts on “Life in Japan in Photos: Rice Fields of Fukui

    • It’s a lovely backdrop – perfect for me, though I daresay where I live would be much too countryside for a lot of people, especially given the nearest major city is a 2-3 drive or train ride away.

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    • Possibly a double-edged sword there then? I imagine the tourism is excellent for the area financially, although possibly at times also at least a mild annoyance for the locals.

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  1. I can’t honesty describe my area as particularly beautiful. A 50-year-old suburb of tiki-tacki Aussie boxes (I live in one.) But there are a lot of trees. That’s nice.
    However I can remark on this image: I lived about a quarter-mile from a huge electrical sub-station and a hundred yards from the nearest transmission line. It buzzed in wet weather; a spooky haunting sound, but also sort of comforting.
    Looking in ever direction we could see, marching away across the nearby hills (it was ALL hills) there were another two or three transmission likes. It was simply a fact of my edge-of-the-city location.
    As for crops – they grew cows across the road.

    I tried to find this exact location on Google Images – but it was too difficult. Lots of “almost!” but not a single match (I followed transmission lines, of course!)

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  2. Gorgeous pics. I look forward to more posts like these. 🙂 I don’t there’s really a big industry type thing anywhere close to where I live. But a few hours away, there’s a lot of ship-building type stuff.

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  3. Very tempting to critique the images… 🙂 But if it bothers you, I’ll not! (As you may recall, I’m a photographer… But I don’t want to critique snapshots – they’re almost always memories, not intentional art.)

    The biggest industry in my area are the three Navy bases… Two are practically invisible except from the water, and the third adds little beauty to the area. Well, I take that back to an extent. Every so often I see a submarine underway and that fills the irrational part of me with longing. The rational part of me then leaps in and reminds me that submarining is a young man’s game and I’m forgetting the parts that sucked mightily.

    That being said, the overall area is very pretty. Tthough we’re growing by leaps and bounds as the nearby Big City flows over it’s banks, most of the peninsula is still semi-rural. Even here, as deep into town as you can get, we still see deer from time-to-time.

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    • Yeah, I wouldn’t call myself a photographer – just someone who likes taking photos. There’s a big difference, as I’m sure you can appreciate.

      Being able to see some form of wildlife is pretty cool I think. I see deer here too, as well as wild pigs, monkeys, snakes, and beaver rats. Bears live nearby too since the area is also mountainous, but I’ve never seen one of them up close (which is probably a good thing).

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      • That’s why I asked first! 🙂

        Out in the more forested parts of the peninsula there are bears and cougars(?) sometimes, but I’ve never see one. Almost no snakes thank heaven! I had quite enough of those as a kid.

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        • No snakes at all in New Zealand, where I’m from, but there are plenty in Japan. However, the vast majority are not poisonous or normally aggressive, and those I’ve accidentally stumbled across (normally while out jogging, but sometimes around my house or workplaces too) tend to get out of the way pretty fast.

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  4. I like the shot. First thing I noticed was the yellowish colour of the crops (I don’t have any experience with rice fields other than pictures, and what I recall is a little more on the greenish side). Those electricity lines and the central tower both anchor the scenery and feel out of place somehow. It’s strange. It really does look like a nice place, though.

    Main industry around here is cement. The buildings are 70ies functional style and exactly as beautiful as a cement block. (Probably less so, because of the wear.) In the wider area, the by far biggest industry is paper. It’s got it’s own premises, and what you can mostly see is very slender and very long chimneys. They used to produce a horrid chemical smell at times (in the 70ies and 80ies), but filters have improved a lot.

    We do have forrests, fields and lakes in the vicinity which are quite nice, but a little farther off, in a neighbouring region we have mountains, valleys and rivers which are just breath-taking if you go through them by train.

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    • Yes, by the time they’re ready to harvest, the rice plants have ripened enough that they’re sometimes more yellow or even orange-y than green. The electricity lines are very typical of Japan, even way out in the countryside.

      It’s nice that you have some beauty nearby, even if your most immediate surroundings aren’t quite so pretty.

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