Over a thousand people gathered on the outskirts of Tokyo, shovels in hand, to dig it out for the top prize in the Japan All-National Hole Digging Competition and claim the coveted Golden Shovel award. The contest drew participants from all over the country to test their hole-digging prowess and claim awards not only for the deepest hole, but also for most creative hole and the most original costume worn during the digging.
The contest, now in its 11th year, attracts participants from all over the country. Just over 200 teams took part in the event on Sunday, with an additional 30 teams made up of either women only or groups of elementary school-age children, or younger, competing in special categories. Participants were given 30 minutes to dig as deep as possible.
Regulations govern the size of shovels, which are measured before the contest kicks off. Throwing dirt into a competitor’s hole is, of course, strictly forbidden. The winning hole this year was 3.26 metres (10 ft 8 in) deep and the winners took home 100,000 yen ($1,215), along with the Golden Shovel.
The contest, held at a campground, began as a way of attracting visitors during the off-season. Once the contest is over, staff refill all the holes using machinery to turn it back into a campground and level the area for next year’s contest.