The Wara Art Festival started in 2008 when Niigata's farming community contacted the local Musashino Art University to get some creative direction on turning their excess straw into works of art. Since then, art students come to design and build new beasts every year in Uwasekigata Park. This year's festival has come to a close, but the straw sculptures will remain up on display through October 31, 2017.
Every year, farmers ensure that the leftover rice-straw, known as wara, doesn't go to waste. The wara is recycled by using it to to feed livestock, improve soil, and in the coastal region of Niigata Prefecture, it's even used to make giant, beastly sculptures for the Wara Art Festival, held at Uwasekigata Park.