Shikamura Terraced Rice Fields 四ケ村の棚田 しかむらのたなだ

Location: Shikamura Tanada, Okura-mura, Mogami, Yamagata Prefecture
Directions: Roughly 10 km east of Hijiori Onsen. Accessible by car or on foot. 
Opening Time: All year round (The Hotarubi Concert is usually held on the first Saturday of August). 

During your scenic drive through the beautiful Mogami region, why not stop on by and enjoy the beautiful sight of the Shikamura terraced rice fields in the sleepy village of Okura?
The valley's terraced rice fields are lovingly maintained by the local rice-farming community, producing a modest amount of rice, but a great deal of viewing pleasure for visitors to the area. Unsurprisingly, the breath-taking view of the sunrise and sunset reflecting off the flooded rice fields in May attracts many photographers, amateur and professional alike.  
In the middle of summer, the rice fields are host to the Hotarubi (Light of Fireflies) Concert. In preparation for this event, members of the local community painstakingly create hundreds of tiny lanterns by hand to line the edges of every rice field in the valley, to mimic the warm evening glow of fireflies. Shuttle buses from nearby ryokan (traditional Japanese inns) and the Shikamura Visitor Centre ferry guests to enjoy an evening of live music in the open air. Entry is free, but please inquire at Tourist Information to confirm the precise date of the festival. 

A little further down the valley from the terraced rice fields are two beautiful bonds in the middle of a beach forest called the largest of which is called Onuma (男沼) Pond and Naganuma (長沼) pond The ponds themselves are slightly too acidic for fish to live in, but are host to a wide variety of beautiful birds, insects and other wildlife. In particular, there is a special breed of dragonfly, Luliito Tonbo (ルリイトトンボ), living in the forest there; these insects are remarkable for their small size and electric blue colour.

For lovers of nature and photographers, and for cyclists and hikers looking for a gorgeous route, the Shikamura terraced rice fields are an ideal location. Come to Okura-mura and lose yourself in the beautiful scenery that the Mogami region has to offer!