After Japan's Fall rice harvest, there's plenty of leftover rice straw. While some rice farmers simply dispose of it, others get creative. The Wara Art Festival is one example of said creativity. This festival, which takes place in the coastal Niigata Prefecture, features giant Japanese straw animal sculptures. These straw animals not only put the leftovers to good use, they're also a total delight to see.
The giant straw animal festival began in 2008. Since then, a new exhibit goes up the last day of August each year. In 2015, the theme was dinosaurs. In 2017, the theme is a little more modern. The festival included gorillas, crocodiles, lions, and other creatures that look like they belong in a zoo.
These amazing sculptures are built by art students from Musashino Art University and have been since the farmers of Niigata contacted the university for advice on artistic ways to use the straw. Read on to see these truly breath-taking sculptures for yourself, and catch a glimpse at some of the artists hard at work.