This Week in Tokyo – 14 June 2022: Rice planting in Tokyo

Welcome to ‘This Week in Tokyo’, a review of the Maction Planet week that was and a look ahead to what’s coming up in the city. Hosted by Mac, our Founder and Lead Guide, you can check out photos from our tours and read insights into our explorations as we get under the skin of the World’s Greatest Metropolis, and beyond! This week: Rice planting in Hino!

Long-time readers of the Maction Planet blog will recall that back in October 2021 I participated in a rice planting event near Takahata Fudo in the suburbs of Tokyo.

The rice we harvested last was planted in June, and this weekend I laid the seeds, as it were, for this year’s harvesting!

Takahata Fudo is a very scenic part of Tokyo and, like many parts of the world’s greatest metropolis, has its own manhole covers which line the way to the rice field.

Rice farmers who follow traditional methods think of the year in terms of the 24 solar terms – the Sekki.

Drinks fans may be familiar with this concept from the famous 24-sided bottles of Suntory Hibiki Whisky, which I talk about in this video about the origins of the Hibiki Whisky brand on our sister drinks-focused platform, Kanpai Planet.

The seedlings we planted were grown during the season called Kokuu, and we planted them during Boushu, which actually means rice planting, and occurs from roughly 6 to 10 June.

The goal was to turn this:

… into this:

Standing in the mud, you hold the rice seedlings with your thumb, index finger and middle finger. You stick it in the mud, standing straight upright, leaving around 30cm between each one so they have enough space to grow.

Also helping out were Yayu from Yayaland Studio (who runs our photography tours) and Nahoko from At Home with Nahoko – my partner-in-crime for the Maction Planet online cooking classes.

Rice planting really is hard work. Luckily we had a delicious organic bento lunch to recharge!

The field belongs to Hioaki Baba, pictured in the featured image together with me, proud of the day’s work, with the finished rice field behind us!.

After the rice planting, I headed to Takahata Fudo temple to enjoy the Ajisai Matsuri – the Hydrangea Festival. It’s the 38th such event and runs throughout June. Absolutely spectacular.

The Hydrangeas are another of the much-loved blooms that mark Japan’s floral calendar, and the temple’s grounds are absolutely beautiful.

Many thanks to Etsuko for her kind arrangement. We continue…

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