Inakadate VillageRice-Code

Hakuhodo Inc. Tohoku Hakuhodo Inc.


A small village in northeast Japan famous for rice, Inakadate was struggling with aging, a declining population and slumping rice sales as Japanese eating habits shift away from rice toward a more Western diet. Still, the village’s main income source was rice. It needed help to increase rice sales and vitalize its economy.  



The village created huge works of art in paddies by planting different colored rice. We then developed a new technology, Rice-Code, which let visitors scan the rice art with their smartphones like a QR code and purchase rice on the spot. This revolutionary sales system turned photogenic rice paddies into a live market for rice.



The project successfully attracted 251,320 visitors—about 30 times the population of the village—over 5 months, and boosted rice sales dramatically. The power of rice revitalized the village. The influx of visitors even moved the government to build special station. Rice paddies were a place to make rice. Now, they’re a place to sell and buy rice directly.



  • 2014 Spikes: Gold (Direct, Outdoor, PR)

  • 2014 Cannes Lions: Gold (Outdoor, PR), Silver (PR), Bronze (Media, Branded Entertainment & Content)

  • 2014 ADFEST: Grande (Media), Gold (Direct), Silver (Outdoor, Promo), Bronze (Direct, Promo), Lotus Roots Award