Niigata is a coastal region in Japan and one of the leading rice producing provinces. Many tourists use Niigata as a place for relaxing on the way to skiing or go to Sado Island, and there is a colorful, unique annual festival suitable for any art or photographer. Every year from late August to October in the area, the Wara Art Festival is held in a spacious location at the Uwasekigata Park grounds. In this art festival, you can see large sculptures made of straw as fascinating dinosaurs, gorillas, crabs and a number of mind-boggling abstract figures. In the past, these straws were used to make a number of traditional objects and tools, such as slippers, with extra materials. These practices were replaced with new technologies since Niigata City and the Musashino Art University developed a creative way to rearrange rice straw.
Wara Art Festival was started in the year 2008 and the university students as well as Niigata residents were the great supporters for the exhibition. This year’s event was a great challenge for university students to create large animals and the festival theme is “Lucky things that bring vitality to those who see them”. Consequently, university students as well as volunteers have built huge wooden frame skeletons and created various designs made from straw in a very short period of time by using many techniques.