Each year in rural parts of Japan, heaps and heaps of straw left behind from harvesting rice are put to artistic use in the creation of giant straw sculptures. The farming communities, most notably those in Kagawa Prefecture and Niigata Prefecture, hold a Straw Art Festival that invites visitors to playfully view and engage with the colossal assemblages.
Made in the likeness of towering beasts, both real and fictional, this year's festival proved to be a big hit. Visitors were met with anything from an open-mouthed shark veering its menacing jaw out of the ground to a giant wallaby allowing children to sit in its pouch. There were also additional structures replicating ships and tanks that visitors were invited to enter. Luckily, each of the sculptures are sturdily built like thatched cottages with wooden frames covered in the dried stalks of grain, allowing audiences to physically interact with them.