I’m a little bit skeptical of anything claiming to be the world’s first or biggest or fastest. And in Japan, I’ve grown skeptical of anything claiming to have the top spot in Japan alone. (They claim Japan’s oldest shrine is somewhere around here, but googling in English and Japanese has lead to mixed results and no mention of the old shrine around here. Although, I guess there are many definitions of oldest… But I digress…) Whether or not things are as old as they say they are or larger than any other, they are least quite old or quite large and this is no exception.
Miyajima is said to be the place where rice paddles were invented and rice paddles are available as souvenirs all over the island. They can be bought at the shrine and the shops alike and come in various sizes. But the largest rice paddle is not for sale. It is on display on the main street of the town, just a short walk from the port.