Sado’s symbolic “Tanada”, certified as a Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System
Making use of the many hours of sunlight, the temperature variance between day and night, and only natural water from a storage of rainwater, rice is grown on a slope between 350m and 400m above sea level. The return of the tanada (terraced rice paddies) which utilizes old-fashioned farming methods harkens back to the old landscape of Sado Island and the paddies have been selected as one of the Top 100 Landscapes of Sado. Also in 2011, they were praised for their initiative in farming in harmony with the natural environment and were selected as a Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System, famous as a symbolic landscape for the island.
The symbolic rice paddies of Sado, resurrected from fallow fields and a paddy ownership system
In 1650 during the Edo Era, there was a huge increase in the population on Sado Island due to a gold rush there which also resulted in a lack of food, thereby sparking a gradual reclamation of land to create the senmaida rice terraces. However at the end of the rush with farming methods focusing on mechanization and productivity as the norm, there was a rise in fallow fields and abandoned fields for reasons such as agricultural equipment not being able to be used on the uniquely shaped paddies and the intensive labor on the slope; this resulted in the disappearance of the tranquil environment of the paddies. But since 2008, there has been a growing tendency towards natural farming methods and a return of the senmaida, and with the introduction of a system bringing together owners of rice paddies from all over Japan, the terraced rice paddy system was revived. With the support of the nation’s rice paddy owners and the people of Sado, the scenery of lush rice paddies in consideration of the environment has returned. This landscape is now treasured as a valuable nostalgic scene to be passed down to future generations.
Come and see the senmaida whose expressions change with the seasons
Ogura Senmaida is easily accessible by car. Not only can the paddies be enjoyed during the summer when they are a lush green, but their beauty can also be admired at any time during the year when the rice turns a golden color in mid-September and during planting season in May. Next to the paddies, there is a parking lot which anyone can use.