Did you know that straw is made from a rice plant?

【 CONTENTS 】Nothing is wasted and very eco-friendlyStraw-made productsNatto was originally wrapped with strawThe relation of straw with traditional Japanese cultureNothing is wasted and very eco-friendly Rice is harvested during the fall in Japan. You can see people drying rice plants after harvesting the rice fields. Rice farmers create some products out of straw during the off season. The excess straw can be used for fertilizer or cattle feed. The products made of straw can be easily burned and disposed of if they wear out. People in Japan utilize every part of the rice plant in their lifestyle. Straw-made products They make many kinds of products ranging from sandals, umbrellas, […]

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Drying rice plants


【 CONTENTS 】

Nothing is wasted and very eco-friendly

Rice is harvested during the fall in Japan. You can see people drying rice plants after harvesting the rice fields. Rice farmers create some products out of straw during the off season.
The excess straw can be used for fertilizer or cattle feed.
The products made of straw can be easily burned and disposed of if they wear out. People in Japan utilize every part of the rice plant in their lifestyle.

 A Rice field after harvesting

Straw-made products

They make many kinds of products ranging from sandals, umbrellas, and even snow boots out of straw. Before plastic bags, straw was used to wrap food. People even made thatched houses out of straw. Today, cheaper materials have taken the place of straw, and we hardly ever see thatched housing and straw products.

Thatched house
Thatched house

Natto was originally wrapped with straw

Natto used to be wrapped in straw, because straw keeps a humidity level that’ll quicken the fermentation process. It is said that 1 string of straw has about 10,000,000 bacteria. Straw also absorbs the smell of ammonia, so it has a more, pleasant smell when eating. Natto is packed in plastic cases today, but there are still some companies that pack natto in straw.

Natto
Natto

The relation of straw with traditional Japanese culture

Straw is in fact very closely connected to traditional Japanese culture, such as festivals and rituals. The sacred rope called “Shimenawa” is also made of straw.
Shimenawa is necessary for New Years in Japan. There are people who strive to pass down these traditional straw crafts and techniques to the next generation. Straw isn’t just something that grows in a rice field, it is also part of the wisdom of ancient Japanese people, for a sustainable lifestyle.

Shimenawa
Shimenawa
Shimenawa
Shimenawa at a shrine

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AUTHOR

kyoami

kyoami

Writer/ Translator

I love Japanese folkcraft article, traditional handicrafts and antiques. I’m seeking the Japanese people’s religious outlooks and its origins that are behind Japanese people’s unique sense and techniques rooted in the ordinary life.