August sees many summer festivals held in Japan, and in rural areas farmers celebrate the end of the annual rice season at their local festival with a few golden ales. Usually by this time their fields are full and ready to harvest.
Occasionally rice harvesting might take place at the end of August, especially if the farmers are worried about an incoming typhoon or monsoonal rains, but mostly the harvest is done in September.
The most common type of rice grown and harvested in Japan is Koshihikari, and almost every prefecture contributes to the production of ‘Japonica Rice’, so necessary to nation’s food supply. Rice is of course a staple of the Japanese diet.
However, despite the large number of farms dedicated to growing rice, Japan still can't produce enough to feed everyone in the country, and some rice has to be imported from other countries. Mandy and I know from first hand experience just how much rice the Japanese people eat (some folks eat three bowls a day!), and we have always enjoyed the taste and texture of locally grown rice.
Fortunately, it’s no longer necessary for the farmers to harvest the rice manually, and these days it’s common to see modern tractors and combine harvesters even in the most remote, traditional farming villages. This year Mandy and I took some photos of the farmers on their machines as we walked around our rural village of Mori, nestled in the mountains above Matsusaka.