No, it’s not cosplay in the countryside and it’s unrelated to Halloween, but yes, there’s something funky going on in the rice fields! Each autumn, some farming villages crank up their creativity and put on kakashi (scarecrow) displays in rice fields. Unlike the utilitarian North American scarecrows made of straw, flannel shirt and old blue jeans, Japanese scarecrows can be cute, scary, or just plain weird! Check out our guide below for a list of nearby festivals and don’t forget your camera!
Trolley Train Festival & Kakashi Festival in Yamada
Abandoned in 1988, the Kamiyamada Line Railroad is now the venue for the annual torokko (trolley) train event in Yamada. The trolley car, decorated with paintings by local elementary school students, makes 1.5 km round trips. Passengers will see more than 150 scarecrows on display in freshly harvested rice fields while riding on the train. The scarecrows look so realistic from afar that you’ll surely do a double take when you see them! Scarecrows are on display from early October and will remain until the end of November. You can also enjoy food made with local produce such as miso soup, udon, curry, and freshly-made mochi.
• 10/27 (Sun.)
• Trolley fares (safety insurance fee): adult ¥200, JHS and under ¥100
• 2142-1 Kumagahata, Kama City, Fukuoka
• 0948-53-1897 (Kama City Yamada Kasseika Center)
10th Kase Kakashi Festival
This scarecrow festival runs alongside the famous Saga International Balloon Fiesta, which attracts huge numbers of spectators from all over Japan and overseas. The event began as an alternative in case inclement weather prevented the balloons from flying. Over 120 scarecrows made by locals will be on display. For their 10th year, the scarecrow theme is “From Heisei to Reiwa, and to the future”. If you’re going to balloon watching, don’t forget to check out the scarecrows, too!
• 10/28 (Mon.) ~ 11/4 (Mon., hol.)
• Kasegawa Bosai Station (north exit of JR Balloon Saga Sta., shuttle bus stop)
• Ogino, Kase-machi, Saga City
• 0952-26-5208 (Kase Community Center)
10th Kakashi Contest in Ukiha
This kakashi contest will be held at the michinoeki (roadside station) Ukiha. With the theme of “gratitude,” enjoy the sight of over 30 scarecrows artfully made by locals, who want to show a contrast between scarecrows of today and of many years ago.
Matsuume Kakashi Festival 2019
Now in its 5th year, admire the scarecrows of Yamato-cho in Saga City, which will be set up in the fields after the autumn harvest. On weekends and holidays, there will be a market at the nearby shrine where visitors can buy fresh local farm produce and some foods like baked yakiimo (sweet potato) and more.
• 10/23 (Wed.) ~ 11/23 (Sat.)
• Hirosaka-Araki area, Yamato-cho Umeno, Saga City
• 090-1513-2759 (Matsume District Town Planning Council Scarecrow Festival Executive Committee)
Updated October 2019.
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NOTE: The information presented here was gathered and summarized by the Fukuoka Now staff. While we have done our best to check for accuracy, there might be errors and details may have changed. If you notice any errors or changes, please contact us. This report was originally written in Sep. 2017.