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From Rice to Races

Solar Races was the idea that made the small City of Ogata, Japan, a famous place in the world.

In the Beginning there were Rice Fields and a Hairdresser
The small city of Ogata located a few kilometers north of Akita, Japan, wanted to become famous.

But how to attract attention with big rice fields? There was nothing special about it. Yet the rice fields were part of the solution. On the flat artificial land of Ogata much bigger fields can be grown than in any other region in the hilly country of Japan. Thanks to high government subsidies for rice, Ogata became one of the richest places in Japan. Wealth, however, was not enough. What they needed was an extraordinary idea ...

Local hairdresser Hisahiro Yamamoto knew the solution—solar races. With his vision he could win the mayor’s enthusiasm and support.

Solar races in Ogata/Akita
On the flat ground, a 330 m racecourse was built. In 1993 more than 30 solar car teams from all over the world came to this remote place to take part in the first World Solar Car Rally in Ogata (Akita). The year after, a rally for solar bikes was included in the program. Ogata has become an annual event in the solar racing calendar.

Founder Yamamoto builds solar vehicles and organizes racing teams himself. He is famous for his beautifully made vehicles and even more for having the prettiest team called JonaSun--the girls working at his hair saloon!



3rd to 6th March 2021, Taipei, Taiwan, Taipei Cycle Show

all events...