Hoshitoge Rice Terrace
With the sunrise, it becomes a fairytale.
In the Japanese countryside, rice paddy terraces — tiered rice fields — are a way of life. Because of their distinct beauty throughout all seasons, Niigata Prefecture’s terraces are not only popular tourist spots, but they are the local townspeople’s livelihood.
Where else to see rice terraces?
This particular rice terrace is most popular among photography fanatics in June and November, as the tiered fields filled with water reflect the colors of the sky, resembling the shiny scales of a fish. During those months, tripods crowd the viewing point at sunrise, as the first beam of light seeps through the mountains.
That said, the terrace is a year-round beauty. Painted by a lush green in summer and lined by fluffy white snow in winter, the rice terrace is always available for viewing.
Hoshitoge is an easily accessible spot by car. The viewing point is located less than 10 meters away from the parking lot, and the surrounding area is mostly flat, which caters the needs of visitors with disabilities. Note that while the viewing point is open to visitors, the rice fields are not. They are private property of nearby farmers so entrance is strictly prohibited.
Other Niigata terraces
The Matsudai region consists of numerous rice terraces. As the No. 1 prefecture for rice crop yield in Japan, Niigata’s seasonal precipitation and ample sunlight provide rice paddies with fertile soil. On top of that, its climate’s range of temperature helps Niigata’s rice to develop a glistening color and fine flavor.
Gimyou, Kamou, Matsushiro, and Sugakari rice terraces are also frequented by visitors. These rice terraces all have their own unique poses, but together they form the group of Echigo Matsudai rice terraces that are considered to be part of “Japan’s Top 100 magnificent sights.”
A masterpiece of rural scenery, the terraces are a countryside slice of Japan.