Check out these articles

Hoshitoge Rice Terraces: Video Introduction

This video, titled "[4K] [Original Scenery of Japan] Rice Terraces at Hoshitoge, Tokamachi, Niigata Prefecture" ([4K]【日本の原風景】新潟県十日町星峠の棚田。雲海と光芒。), was uploaded by "KYODO NEWS."

In the video, you can see footage of the Hoshitoge Rice Terraces, which were selected by foreign tourists as the #1 bucket list view in Japan. The reflections on the water-filled rice fields and the sea of clouds that looks different throughout the day are captured in this beautiful 4K video. You can't help but be moved by these views. The video is accompanied by closed captions with tourist information, so be sure to turn them on while watching the video!

Rice Fields in Japan

Cultivation of rice fields in Japan is believed to have started during the Yayoi Period (300 BC - 250 AD). Rice has played an important role in the history of Japan, and has even been used historically as currency by farmers to pay taxes.
Today, rice is a staple food in Japan, and while the exact number of rice fields in Japan is not known, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, rice paddies account for 5.85 million acres of land. With Japan having a total landmass of 93.4 million acres, this means that more than 6% of Japan is rice paddies.

Despite rice fields being made to grow rice, there are many places in Japan where you can see rice field art, such as Saitama and Aomori prefectures. The use of different colors of rice allows farmers to create incredible images inside the fields.
Some other famous rice fields in Japan where you can see breathtaking views include the Shiroyone Senmaida Rice Terraces of Ishikawa Prefecture, the Maruyama Senmaida Rice Terraces of Mie Prefecture, and many more.

Terraced rice fields prevent erosion, runoff, flooding, and other undesirable conditions, which is why they are often used in rice farming. Furthermore, they help nurture the land by allowing the water in the fields to slowly seep back into the ground, replenishing the groundwater.

What Are the Hoshitoge Rice Terraces? Discover the Beautiful Scenery of Tokamachi, Niigata

Image of the Hoshitoge Rice Terraces of Tokamachi, Niigata
Photo:The Hoshitoge Rice Terraces of Tokamachi, Niigata

Located in Tokamachi, Niigata, in Japan's Koshin'etsu region, the Hoshitoge Rice Terraces, numbering some 200 paddies, are spread across the hillside. Among the terraced rice fields scattered throughout the region, the Hoshitoge Rice Terraces are considered exceptionally beautiful.

Depending on the weather and time of year, a sea of clouds and mirror-like water can also be seen at the rice terraces, making this a popular tourist spot with a variety of views. The Hoshitoge Rice Terraces have attracted attention both in Japan and overseas, as they were featured in the opening scene of NHK's historical drama "Tenchijin" (Heart of a Samurai) in 2009, and was recognized as a Japanese heritage that transcends borders by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in 2022.

The Hoshitoge Rice Terraces, a place where you can view the beautiful landscapes of Japan, are historic terraced rice fields created by the residents of Hoshitoge village more than 300 years ago. The area, including the village, has been selected as one of the "Top 100 Villages in Japan," and is one of Japan's leading scenic attractions.

The Best Season to Visit the Hoshitoge Rice Terraces

Image of a sea of clouds over the Hoshitoge Rice Terraces, Tokamachi, Niigata
Photo:A sea of clouds over the Hoshitoge Rice Terraces, Tokamachi, Niigata

One of the highlights of Hoshitoge Rice Terraces is the breathtakingly beautiful sea of clouds and mirror-like pools of water covering the fields. Unfortunately, the sea of clouds and mirror-like pools can only be seen during certain times of the year and under certain conditions. In addition, in order to capture the beautiful scenery in photographs, it's important to know in advance the best places to take photographs, so be sure to check before you visit.

The best seasons for seeing a sea of clouds is during spring (late June) and autumn (mid-September). During these seasons, a sea of clouds is more likely to occur, and photographers from all over Japan flock to the area to enjoy the spectacular view. On the other hand, the best season for viewing the mirror-like pools is spring (around May to June) and autumn (around October to November). If you want to see both a sea of clouds and the mirror-like pools, be sure to visit in June.

However, whether or not you can see a sea of clouds and a water mirror depends entirely on luck. The view in front of you will change depending on the conditions of the day. You will need some luck to take a good picture. However, if the conditions are right, you will be able to see a glowing sea of clouds or a scene enveloped in fog, and you will be able to capture a miraculous shot.

Spring, Summer, Fall & Winter: Seasonal Views at the Hoshitoge Rice Terraces

Image of the Hoshitoge Rice Terraces covered in snow, Tokamachi, Niigata
Photo:The Hoshitoge Rice Terraces covered in snow, Tokamachi, Niigata

The Hoshitoge Rice Terraces are a beautiful sight in each of Japan's four seasons. In addition to the popular sea of clouds and mirror-like pools, you can enjoy colorful cherry blossoms in spring. In the summer, the rice terraces turn a deep green color and contrast with the bright blue sky. In autumn, the ears of rice shimmer with a golden glow, and in winter snow takes the place of water, creating a unique scene of pools of white snow.

That being said, cars and motorcycles are unable to access the rice terraces when the snow gets too deep, and you may not be able to visit the rice fields during the winter.

The Hoshitoge Rice Terraces also offer a different view during the daytime and at night. In particular, at sunrise and sunset, you can enjoy a beauty that is beyond words, no matter what season you visit in.

Summary of the Hoshitoge Rice Terraces

The Hoshitoge Rice Terraces are one of the most famous scenic views in Japan. It's a bucket list location, so if you're interested in visiting, we highly recommend adding it to your Niigata travel itinerary!

To get to the Hoshitoge Rice Terraces in Tokamachi, Niigata, take the train to Matsudai Station and from there, it's about 20 minutes by taxi. For details on parking and directions, please check here.

The rice terraces in Tokamachi, Niigata, including the Hoshitoge Rice Terraces, are not designed for the purpose of sightseeing. They are agricultural land that local people have inherited from their ancestors and carefully preserved. They are also private plots of land where farmers still cultivate rice.

In addition to not entering the terraces, it's strictly prohibited to interfere with farm vehicles, take unauthorized photographs of farm work, or leave trash in the terraces. Please enjoy the spectacular scenery while observing proper manners and abiding by the rules.

【TripAdvisor】Hoshitoge Rice Terraces

Written By
Last Updated : Jun. 8, 2023
My name is Harumaru and I am a writer living and working in Hokkaido.
The Hoshitoge Rice Terraces of Niigata Prefecture! Discover the Beautiful Rice Fields of Japan With This Must-See View!
If this article interests you, be sure to leave a follow.

Recommended Articles