Aerial view of terraced rice fields, Yuanyang County, China
© AlexGcs/Getty Image
Shining through the centuries. Terraced rice fields, Yuanyang County, China
Reflecting the colors of the sky, this spectacular hillside in Yuanyang County, China, is just a small part of the vast Honghe Hani Rice Terraces UNESCO World Heritage Site. For 1,300 years, the local Hani people have carved thousands of these asymmetrical terraces around the contours of the Ailao Mountains in Yunnan province.
They are fed by a complex irrigation system which brings water from the mountain tops, filling the rice terraces in winter and spring and creating this eye-catching stained-glass-window effect. About 80 Hani villages with traditional thatched houses and farming methods, including buffaloes working the fields, are part of this landscape, where people and nature have worked in harmony for centuries.
Cherry trees in full bloom near the Imperial Palace with Tokyo Tower in the background, Tokyo, Japan