Rice planting at quake-hit Shiroyone Senmaida in central Japan

More than 50 people have taken part in rice planting at picturesque terraced paddies 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 paddies 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 to the rice fields, with about 80 percent of them left with cracks.

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

Amid a shortage of farmers due to aging of the local population, an ownership system has been introduced to conserve the paddies. Under the scheme, members pay fees to grow rice.

On Saturday, members gathered from across Japan for planting at some of the repaired paddies. They manually planted seedlings of rice grown mainly in the Noto region.

A man in his 30s from Shiga Prefecture, western Japan, said he will be happy if his participation as an owner helps rebuild the paddies.

Planting by owners will take place again on Sunday. Volunteer workers including local high school students will participate next weekend.