It all took place because of the Wara Art Festival, which just happened to be at the end of the rice harvest. When rice is harvested, there is a lot of straw left over so these artists found a rather innovative way to use the straw and to be creative in the process.
The Wara Art Festival has been a part of Niigata City since it began in 2008. At first, it started as a collaboration between the Musashino Art University and the tourism department within the city. At one time, the left over rice straw was utilized for a wide variety of reasons, including making tatami mats but today, those mats are more frequently made out of plastic or wood. The students worked diligently to fill the fields with enormous sculptures made out of bound rice straw and since they started a tradition, they have been doing it every year.
In the pictures below, you will see some of the best displays that took place in the most recent Festival. Not only are they awesome to see online, they may just make you plan a trip to Japan for the next Festival.