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Terraced Rice Fields in Saga, Stunningly Beautiful Views of Japanese Nature

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Hamanoura no Tanada – 0ne of Japan’s top 100 terraced rice fields

Hamanoura no Tanada is one of the top 100 most beautiful terraced rice fields in Japan. It’s located in Saga-prefecture in Kyushu. Sometimes it is called Hamanoura Senmaida. Senmaida means “a thousand rice fields” because the rice field is divided into small sections making thousands of small patches of planting areas. This allowed the farmers to plant as much rice as possible.

Hamanoura no Tanada was designated as one of the top 100 most beautiful terraced rice fields in Japan by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing. In 1999 they made a list of these top terraced rice fields. Each terrace must have a certain angle to its slope. It is also required to retain the traditional cultural style, such as the old rice-planting and reaping methods.

hamanoura no tanada
View over Hamanoura no Tanada from the observation deck

Hamanoura no Tanada is a massive rice terrace measuring 11.5 hectares. The terraced rice field starts by the shore, and rises up like a stairway. At the top of the Hamanoura no Tanada, there is an observation deck, a perfect location to see the sunset over the valley and the rice terrace.

hamanoura no tamara sunset
Sunset over Hamanoura no Tanada in winter

The best time to visit Hamanoura no Tanada

Hamanoura no Tanada is impressive all year around and looks different during each season of the year. The best time to visit is in spring during mid-April to mid-May. The rice-planting season starts around this time and the rice terraces are filled with water.

Some people say that the pools of water look a lot like a Japanese ink-wash painting called “Suiboku-ga” when the sun is setting and the water reflects the colour of the sunset. There is also a “Lover’s Sanctuary” at the observation deck, this is a place ensures good fortune and joy to couples.

lover's sanctuary hamanoura no tanada
Lover’s Sanctuary at Hamanoura no Tanada observation deck

In summer the terraced rice fields are lush and green and it makes for a beautifully colourful view. The harvest season is in the autumn when the rice terrace is a golden yellow that makes for amazing pictures. During the winter, the fields look completely different as if in a slumber awaiting spring. If you are lucky you will see the steps of the rice terrace covered in snow. It makes for a beautiful and unusual sight.

How to get there:

The closest train station is Karatsu Station. You can walk from the train station to the Karatsu Bus Centre and take a bus to Hamanoura. From the bus stop it is approximately a one minute walk to the Hamanoura rice fields. However, the buses do not run very frequently.

If you have the chance, I recommend that you rent a car for a few hours and visit th Iroha Observation Deck ( see below ) and Oura no Tanada. These two locations are beautiful but difficult to reach my local transportation.

Iroha Observation Deck – breathtaking view in Saga

The Karatsu region in Saga-prefecture is beautifully located by the shore. From the Iroha Observation Deck you see out over the bay below where small islands spread below in the water. On a clear day you can even see the ‘Oura no Tanada’ terraced rice fields on the other side of the bay.

iroha observation deck
View from the Iroha Observation Deck
oura no tanada
‘Oura no Tanada’ terraced rice fields seen in the distance

I went to Oura no Tanada during the winter, and I was the only person there enjoying the afternoon view. This viewpoint is one of my favourites in all of Japan. I recommend bringing a picnic and eating on one of the benches and eating while looking out over the bay.

How to get there:

By bus:  approximately a 30 minute walk from the Megarikawa bus stop

By car: There is free parking if you drive.

Oura no Tanada – my favourite terraced rice field in Japan

Oura no Tanada is another stunning terraced rice field in Karatsu, in the Saga-prefecture. The rice terrace rises up like an arch from a small fishing bay and is surrounded by small houses giving one a feeling of real countryside living.

Oura no Tanada, terraced rice field
View over Oura no Tanada from the observation deck
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Oura no Tanada

There is an observation deck with a beautiful view, and the atmosphere of this place is very calming and peaceful. I recommend visiting in spring or summer when the rice terrace looks the most dramatic. This is a wonderful location to enjoy the sunset at.

How to get here:

Karatsu Station is the closest train station. You can take a bus from Karatsu bus centre and get off at Magarikawa bus stop. The bus ride is approximately 25 minutes. From Magarikawa bus stop it is about a 10 minute walk.

Keep in mind that buses do not run very often. I recommend exploring this area by car since it gives you more freedom.


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