The Aragishima Terraced Rice Paddies of Wakayama
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Carved Out -- Aragijima Rice Terraces (蘭島) -- Aridagawa, Wakayama, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/1250 sec, f/8, ISO 1100 — map & image datanearby photos
Carved Out

A scant fifteen seconds from the front door of Pierre Nadeau's Swordsmith deep in the rural mountains of Japan's Wakayama Prefecture is a sweeping view of “Aragishima” (commonly written あらぎ島, but sometimes 蘭島), a set of terraced rice paddies shaved from a hill almost completely encompased by the sweep of an almost-full-circle river bend.

Watching Daddy Work -- Aragijima Rice Terraces (蘭島) -- Aridagawa, Wakayama, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/500 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Watching Daddy Work

The paddies weren't in their most photogenic state when I visited earlier this month, and the weather/lighting situation while I was there didn't help. These photos were taken over the course of a couple of days, so the lighting among them is all over the map. I like the shot above because the little kids are watching the adult working, but the lighting is horrible. This next shot, taken the previous afternoon, seems better, but the lone worker tucked away at the far edge makes a less compelling image...

Aragijima Rice Terraces (蘭島) -- Aridagawa, Wakayama, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/5000 sec, f/2.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos

I saw some amazing shots by a friend of Pierre while we were there. I'm sure there are many better ones online than you'll find in this post (image search at Yahoo and at Google), but seedlings were being planted while I was there, which made it much nicer for me, because I enjoy the human element.

Solitary Toil -- Aragijima Rice Terraces (蘭島) -- Aridagawa, Wakayama, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/5000 sec, f/2.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Solitary Toil

For reference, here's what the wider view looks like...

Standard Aragishima Shot -- Aragijima Rice Terraces (蘭島) -- Aridagawa, Wakayama, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 27mm — 1/400 sec, f/11, ISO 450 — map & image datanearby photos
Standard Aragishima Shot

But like I said, it's not in its most photogenic state. And the river, which at times can be a powerful wide gushing angry snake, was just a slight trickle while we were there. Frankly, I like my WhiBal-capture shot better... the mountains have a nice feeling to them....

Just Checking the Light -- Aragijima Rice Terraces (蘭島) -- Aridagawa, Wakayama, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 29mm — 1/5000 sec, f/2.8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Just Checking the Light
A Farmer's Work Is Never Done from what I could tell, he was of a fairly advanced age -- Aragijima Rice Terraces (蘭島) -- Aridagawa, Wakayama, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 300mm f/2 — 1/2000 sec, f/2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
A Farmer's Work Is Never Done
from what I could tell, he was of a fairly advanced age
Navigation -- Aragijima Rice Terraces (蘭島) -- Aridagawa, Wakayama, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/640 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Navigation

The main spot to take pictures (where I took all those above) is a viewing platform beside a road that runs in the mountains above the paddies, but among the foot paths in the small community further up the mountain, I found a clearing with benches offering a nice view...

I can just imagine how wonderful this would be On a Lazy Summer Evening -- Aridagawa, Wakayama, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 360 — map & image datanearby photos
I can just imagine how wonderful this would be
On a Lazy Summer Evening

One comment so far...

This method of farming is indeed beautiful to the beholder. But also interesting, leading one to ask many questions about how it is done. For instance,what is used to lay out the initial beds…besides the obvious lay of the land? How is the water brought in and kept at the right level for each layer? What keeps the water from seeping away? Are fertilizers used?
Perhaps someday you can do an in-depth photo story on some of the behind-the-scenes and less-apparent aspects
of these charming rice farms. (Inquiring minds want to know 🙂 )

— comment by Grandma Friedl in Ohio, USA on May 28th, 2011 at 3:49am JST (6 years, 7 months ago) comment permalink
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