What began eleven years ago as a way to attract tourists to the area during the off-season, has become a national competition that attracts participants from all over Japan.

Thousands of diggers gathered anxiously on Sunday, February 6th, on the outskirts of Tokyo, shovels in hand, to see who could dig the deepest and most creative hole in the ground while wearing the most original costume.

Competitors were given 30 minutes to dig as deep a hole as possible. Prizes were awarded not only for the deepest hole, but also for the most imaginative cavity and most unique costume worn during the digging.

Players participating in Japan’s All-National Hole Digging Competition worked in 210 different teams, the majority of which were comprised of professional hole-diggers, with an additional 30 teams made up of either ladies-only or groups of elementary school-age or younger children.

“As for the participants, there are of course, a lot of families and groups of friends. However, the most numerous are those who are “professionals” who dig for a living, such as gas company workers or those who deal with the water supply,” said Manabu Saito, a public relations officer at Narita Dream Dairy Farm, where the contest took place.

The winning hole this year was approximately 10.6 feet deep and the winners took home a cash prize of 100,000 Yen (about US $1,200) and the “golden shovel” award.

After the contest, the holes are all refilled, using machinery instead of shovels to transform the area the way it was in preparation for next year’s contest.

Here’s to next year and…more holes.




M Dee Dubroff is the penname of this freelance writer and former teacher originally from Brooklyn, New York. A writer of ghostly and horror fiction, she has branched out into the world of humorous non fiction writing and maintains eight web sites covering a wide variety of topics. She also writes feature articles for several local newspapers. Her book entitled: A Taste of Funny, and her website, Eat, Drink And Really Be Merry (http://www.ingestandimbibe.com) feature many well researched and humorous articles on the subject of food and drink.