Preparations underway for rice planting at quake-hit fields in central Japan

Preparations for rice cultivation have begun at picturesque terraced rice fields on the coast of the Noto Peninsula, central Japan, which was hit by a powerful earthquake on New Year's Day.

Shiroyone Senmaida consists of around 1,000 rice paddies arranged like a staircase along a slope overlooking the Sea of Japan in Wajima City, Ishikawa Prefecture. It has been designated as a national scenic spot.

The earthquake caused extensive damage, such as cracks in the ground and damage to irrigation canals.

A civic group that manages rice farming there has been engaged in repair work.

On Tuesday, the group members and local residents, including those who had evacuated the city, used cultivators to plow the soil in about 60 of the less-affected paddies. They aim to plant rice in mid-May.

The group's leader, Shirao Tomokazu, said the quake caused serious damage, but that they are committed to carefully restoring the rice paddies. He said being able to do such work in the place they were born and raised is fulfilling for the residents.

The group is seeking donations for the restoration through crowdfunding until Friday.