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Rice Harvest

   Last week, I received the following inquiry about something I had posted a year ago:


I was looking around online trying to find a nice rice terrace (tanada) to visit on my trip to Japan in late October (how I found your blog), and I came upon the Ukiha tanada, which look amazing, but I am not sure if the rice will be around when I get there.

   You're right. 

   Generally speaking, rice is harvested right about now in Ukiha and elsewhere. I've been there three times to see the higan-bana, which are just starting to bloom here in Fukuoka, and each time I went most of the rice had already been cut. I suppose that if you were to hurry, there might still be rice left as the weather hasn't been very sunny this summer. (My wife just said that we will go harvest the rice we planted earlier this year later this week.)

Would you happen to be able to tell me how I could find that information out? I know it's kind of a long shot, but I've been googling everything I can think of, and no one can tell me (probably because the farmers don't put up their harvest schedule on the internet).

   It usually depends on the weather more than anything. I would think that due to all the rain we've had this summer, the harvesting might be a week or two late. Even still, that would be too late for your planned visit. 

   I did a quick search in Japanese and found the following:

   September is the season for harvesting rice. While the exact timing depends on the weather, as a rule, rice is harvested about forty-five days after after grains of rice appear on the iné (rice plants). There are other ways of determining whether a field is ready to be harvested. One is by looking at the field itself. If ninety percent of the field has turned golden in color (from the rice grains), then it is ready. Another way is know if it is ready is to calculate the average daily high and add it up. If that figure is between 1000 and 1200 degrees Celcius, then the rice can be harvested.

   That's probably not very helpful for you, but I find it rather interesting.

Have you ever been to or heard of Misaki in Okayama? It also seems like a nice place to visit a tanada, and they say they harvest later than in the south...

   No, I'm afraid I haven't. I doubt the timing would be much different. One thing I have noticed is that rice is usually planted and then harvested at higher elevations first. 


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