It’s said that, ‘adversity is the mother of all ingenuity’, and when the small town of Inakadate (pronounced ee-NAH-kah-dah-tay) fell upon hard times that certainly seemed to be the case. Struggling with a lack of industry and a public debt of more than three times it’s annual budget the town looked towards tourism as a potential source of much needed income, I can’t imagine they expected such success when they happened upon the idea of of using different colours of rice to create football field sized works of art.
In 2009 the works led to an estimated 170,000 visitors to the town, whose population is a mere 8,450. A huge triumph in terms of visitor numbers even if they haven’t fully realised a method to capitalise on the economic potential of such large numbers of visitors – the council took $70,000 worth of donations, although you would have to imagine that local businesses have benefited from a surge in custom from the passing trade.
You can read the full article in the New York Times.