In April the rural fields of northern Ritto City near Yasugawa (野洲川) come alive with agricultural activity, and many flowers and insects appear. This year, 2020, the threat of the new type of coronavirus (COVID-19) has greatly reduced human activity, but rural life goes on and nature is taking its course as usual.

Japan is now in a nationwide state of emergency from April 16th through May 6th. Many public facilities have closed, including a ground golf course that is used by many local older people.

Ground golf closure sign
Sign on the entrance to the ground golf course in Deba, Ritto City, announcing closure from April 16 through May 6, 2020, to reduce the spread of the new coronavirus (COVID-19).

On the other hand, work goes on as usual for local farmers. The owner of this tractor told me that he will soon plant two varieties of rice in adjacent fields.

Farm tractor with cultivator
Farm tractor with cultivator in a rice field

Most colorful winter birds have disappeared, but long-term residents like sparrows and greenfinches remain. Great cormorants, active here in spring and summer, are nesting nearby along the river.

Oriental Greenfinch (Chloris sinica, カワラヒワ)
Oriental Greenfinch (Chloris sinica, カワラヒワ)
Great cormorants (カワウ) in flight
Great cormorants (カワウ) in flight over the ground golf course in Deba, Ritto City

Every spring insects and other small creatures bring colorful movement. Their beauty becomes more apparent when they pause.

Japanese tree frog (Hyla japonica, ニホンアマガエル, 日本雨蛙)
Japanese tree frog (Hyla japonica, ニホンアマガエル, 日本雨蛙)
Common copper butterfly (Lycaena phlaeas, ベニシジミ)
Common copper butterfly (Lycaena phlaeas, ベニシジミ)
Short-tailed blue butterfly (Everes argiades, tailed cupid, ツバメシジミ)
Short-tailed blue butterfly (Everes argiades, tailed cupid, ツバメシジミ)

Many varieties of flowers are in bloom. Large flowers like irises and magnolias appear in many gardens.

Iris flowers
Irises in Deba, Ritto City
Flowering magnolia tree (モクレン)
Small flowering magnolia tree (モクレン) in Tsuji, Ritto City

Some open spaces near the river are dominated by colorful dandelions and violets.

Japanese dandelions (Taraxacum japonicum, カンサイタンポポ)
Japanese dandelions (Taraxacum japonicum, カンサイタンポポ)
Manchurian violets (Viola mandshurica,  スミレ)
Manchurian violets (Viola mandshurica, スミレ) at Yasugawa Athletic Park in Deba, Ritto City
Manchurian violets (Viola mandshurica,  スミレ)
Manchurian violets (Viola mandshurica, スミレ) at Yasugawa Athletic Park in Deba, Ritto City

Ι hope this coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic will soon subside and allow people to live normally again. Living in a rural area, it is difficult to imagine having to stay indoors in order to avoid too much close human contact.

Woods at Yasugawa Athletic Park
Woods at Yasugawa Athletic Park in Deba, Ritto City, with Mikamiyama in the background

See more photos in my Flickr photostream or one of my albums.

Published by Greg Peterson

Professor Emeritus, Kyoto Notre Dame University (1977-2020). Since 1980 I have lived in Shiga Prefecture, Japan, where I enjoy outdoor activities, especially photography, hiking, and cycling.

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1 Comment

  1. いつも、素晴らしい写真・・ありがとうございます。「Web翻訳ツール」で日本語で楽しく拝見しています!
    新型コロナにはお互いに気を付けて、乗り切りましょう!

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