The biggest rice scoop in the world is found on Omotesando street on Miyajima (Itsukushima) Island in Japan. It was made by Miyajima Town as a symbol of Miyajima, birthplace of the rice scoop, and to hand down the traditional handicraft of wood carving to future generations. It has been displayed here since 1996 to commemorate the designation of Itsukushima Shrine as a World Heritage Site. The scoop, which took almost three years to make, is 7.7 metres long, 2.7 metres wide and weighs 2.5 tons.
In the late 1800s a buddhist monk, Seishin, dreamed of the goddess Benzaiten. In his dream he saw her holding a lute, which he thought to be a wooden rice scoop. Believing it to be something magical, he handcrafted a replica and then went on to teach others how to make it. From then on, the making of wooden rice scoops became a popular tradition on the island and today these crafts are believed to bring good luck and health. They are also thought to bring victory to battles and have become popular souvenirs.
- Miyajima Tourist Association information leaflet
- Miyajima Guide Map