Plowing of Scenic Shiroyone Senmaida Rice Terraces in Japan’s Quake-Hit Wajima Completed; Rice to be Planted in 60 Damaged Paddies Out of 1,004

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Members of a local group responsible maintaining the Shiroyone Senmaida rice terraces in Wajima, Ishikawa Prefecture, plow rice paddies on Monday.

WAJIMA, Ishikawa — The hardened soil of the Shiroyone Senmaida rice terraces in Wajima, Ishikawa Prefecture, was recently plowed. The terrace, which is nationally recognized for its scenic beauty, suffered damage, including visible cracks, from the Noto Peninsula Earthquake on Jan. 1. The process called Taokoshi was carried out on about 60 of the 1,004 rice paddies that suffered relatively minor damage. Those involved with the rice terraces hope to make them a symbol of recovery from the disaster.

The work took two days and was completed on Tuesday. On the final day, eight members of the local group responsible for maintaining the terraces used cultivators to plow the soil. Irrigation is scheduled for early May, and rice planting will begin in mid-May. Harvesting is scheduled for late August to early September.

Shiroyone Senmaida is a scenic spot overlooking the Sea of Japan and is known as a popular tourist attraction in the Noto area. The earthquake caused upheavals and cracks in the rice paddies, as well as partial damage to the irrigation channels, significantly affecting both the landscape and the functionality of the rice fields.

The local group plans to restore about 900 remaining paddies while continuing to cultivate rice. Most of the group’s roughly 30 members will commute from their evacuation sites, mainly outside Wajima.

“People won’t return to Wajima until it’s deemed safe, which includes restoring the water supply. We hope that the revival of the rice terraces will encourage them to return,” said Tomokazu Shirao, the group’s representative currently living in evacuation in Kanazawa.