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A special article linked with the "21st Minato-ku Sightseeing Photo Contest" and "Minato-ku 'Photogenic' Spot Photo Rally": Introducing the locations where the award-winning photos have been taken!

The MINATO Travel & Tourism Association is now accepting entries for "the 21st Minato-ku Sightseeing Photo Contest 2023." This photo contest, which aims to rediscover the charm of Minato-ku through photography, invites entrants for photographs taken in Minato-ku, ranging from landmarks and historic sites to seasonal features and hidden spots. However, you may be wondering what kind of photos to take. Therefore, this time, we will introduce a selection of impressive past award-winning works, along with comments from Yoshihisa Watanabe, president of the Travel & Tourism Association and a member of the judging committee for the Minato-ku Sightseeing Photo Contest. We also compared photos taken at the same location and from the same angle as the award-winning works. Please use this as a reference when taking photos. In addition, we will also introduce some of the spots that are the subject of the "Minato-ku 'Photogenic' Spot Photo Rally 2023," which is being held concurrently with the Minato-ku Sightseeing Photo Contest.

[Click here for details on how to make entries for the "21st Minato-ku Sightseeing Photo Contest 2023." (Application period is until January 10th, 2024.)]
https://visit-minato-city.tokyo/en/articles/546

[Click here for past award-winning works]
https://visit-minato-city.tokyo/en/photocontest

[Click here for details on the "Minato-ku 'Photogenic' Spot Photo Rally 2023—Minato-ku's Finest Scenes" (held until January 10th, 2024)]
https://visit-minato-city.tokyo/en/events/2898

Aiming for a photo opportunity with Tokyo Tower in the background

The first Minato-ku Sightseeing Photo Contest was held in 2003, and this year marks the 21st year. The number of entrants has been increasing every year. Last year, there were 365 entrants and 1,053 entries in the general category alone. The photo "A Place Where You Can Be Happy" that won the Silver Prize last year at the 20th contest in FY2022 was a scene of a Shinkansen bullet train running side by side with Doctor Yellow, an inspection bullet train, with Tokyo Tower in the background from the public passageway at the north exit of Hamamatsucho Station.

The 20th Minato-ku Sightseeing Photo Contest Silver Prize "A Place Where You Can Be Happy" by Tetsuhiro Seta

In addition to the excellence of the photo, the photographer's persistence in capturing the rarely seen Doctor Yellow and the Shinkansen bullet train running side by side was one of the reasons for the award.
""All the judges, myself included, were amazed at the quality of the photo. The judges unanimously decided to award a prize.” (President Watanabe)

The public passageway at the north exit of Hamamatsucho Station, where the photo was taken, is located on the overpass over the Kyū Shiba Rikyū Garden intersection, outside the north exit of the station. In fact, it is the best spot to take photos of Doctor Yellow, and President Watanabe has seen many people holding cameras there. The photo below was taken at the same location and angle as ""A Place Where You Can Be Happy."" We waited for a while, but we did not get to see Doctor Yellow.

The time of shooting was around 11:00 a.m., so the atmosphere will be similar to that work in the evening. Careful preparation and a lot of patience may be required to capture Doctor Yellow at this location.

Zojoji Temple where seasonal photos can be taken

The winner of the Special Prize at the 18th contest in FY2020 was "Spring Snow" featuring the Sangedatsumon gate, the symbol of Zojoji Temple. As the title shows, this work captures the moment of snow and cherry blossoms dancing in the air.

The 18th Minato-ku Sightseeing Photo Contest Special Prize "Spring Snow" by Tomoyuki Kaminaga

This award-winning work was highly evaluated for its petals that look like snow and the snow that looks like petals.
"I remember well that the contrast between the cherry blossoms, the snow, and the gate was very nice. It was a very impressive photo." (President Watanabe)

Zojoji is a Jodo sect Buddhist temple located in Shibakoen 4-chome, and is known for its history of about 600 years. We took this photo from the same angle as "Spring Snow" in front of the Sangedatsumon gate, where many people, including tourists, passed by.

The contrast between the leafless tree and the gate is also tasteful, but to photograph it in the same way as that work, spring is the best time to do so. However, it will be difficult to take such a photo unless the cherry blossoms are in bloom and it is snowing, which seems to be a very high hurdle. The appearances of Zojoji Temple differ in spring, summer, fall, and winter, so try to find your own best season and time of day.

Capturing a moment before the city becomes even more lively

"A Ray of Light Illuminating a Chef," which won the Silver Prize at the 17th contest in FY2019, proved that even an ordinary street scene can become a magnificent piece of artwork, depending on how you shoot it. Taken under the elevated railway tracks of Shimbashi Station, where you can find a row of izakaya (Japanese style pubs), this work captures a brief moment before they open.

The 17th Minato-ku Sightseeing Photo Contest Silver Prize "A Ray of Light Illuminating a Chef" by Tomoki Takahara

This scene, which could have been the setting for the popular manga and drama "Lonely Gourmet," is truly unique to Shimbashi. In fact, this location is very close to Shinshodoh, a long-established Japanese confectionery store famous for its "Seppuku Monaka," which is run by President Watanabe.
Since it is near my store, I could not help but go looking for a shooting place. It is amazing to see such a cool photo of a neighborhood where I usually wander around drunk (laughs).

The spot where "A Ray of Light Illuminating a Chef" was shot is right outside the Shiodome exit of JR Shimbashi Station. As we entered under the elevated railway tracks from the bustling station, the atmosphere was tranquil and serene. There were not many people there, partly because many shops were before opening. Whether a chef is sitting on an arched pole is a matter of chance, but if you get the right angle, you can take a shot like the one below.

This photo was taken around noon. If you want to get the same "ray of light" as that work, we recommend aiming for a slightly later time around 2:00 p.m.

Minato-ku "Photogenic" Spot Photo Rally is also being held!

All the award-winning photos were taken at places that remind us of the charm of Minato-ku. The "Minato-ku 'Photogenic' Spot Photo Rally 2023" is also being held at the same time as the photo contest, where you can tour the "photogenic" spots in Minato-ku. If you visit three or more "photogenic" spots in Minato-ku, you will be entered into a drawing for a prize of "healing goods." Visit the spots and make your own "photogenic" works!

A total of 10 spots are eligible for the "Photogenic" Spot Photo Rally, including Hamamatsucho Station, where "A Place Where You Can Be Happy" as mentioned above was taken. One of them, Keyakizaka in Roppongi, is where the photograph "Keyakizaka—Fantasy Illumination" was taken, which won the Special Prize at the 19th Minato-ku Sightseeing Photo Contest. Keyakizaka is one of Minato-ku's best photo spots in winter, and is sure to be a picturesque place to take photos this year as well.

The 19th Minato-ku Sightseeing Photo Contest Special Prize "Keyakizaka—Fantasy Illumination" by Kiyomi Kobayashi

In addition, the Jingu Gaien garden, the shooting site for "A Row of Gingko Trees at Dusk," which was selected as an honorable mention at the 15th contest, is also one of the spots eligible for the "Photogenic" Spot Photo Rally. The row of ginkgo trees can only be enjoyed until late November, so be sure to get there early.

The 15th Minato-ku Sightseeing Photo Contest Honorable Mention "A Row of Gingko Trees at Dusk" by Masatoshi Noto

For more information on other spots and the "Photogenic" Spot Photo Rally, please refer to the following page. Why not visit the photogenic spots and try taking photos with a different atmosphere from the award-winning photos?

[Click here for details on the "Minato-ku 'Photogenic' Spot Photo Rally 2023—Minato-ku's Finest Scenes" (held until January 10th, 2024)]
https://visit-minato-city.tokyo/en/events/2898

What to expect from the photo contest

As you can see, there are various "photogenic" spots within Minato-ku, but Tokyo Tower is particularly popular among the entries.
Looking back at photo contests in the past, there were many photos of Tokyo Tower, which is also a symbol of Tokyo. In the future, you may need to find ways to differentiate yourself from other entrants. There are also many photos of Rainbow Bridge, Roppongi Hills, Zojoji Temple, and parks within Minato-ku. Photos of festivals at Shiba Daijingu Shrine and Sanno Shrine are also often sent in. Personally, I like Sengakuji Temple, which has a strong connection with the Ako Gishi, so I would be happy to see more good photos of Sengakuji Temple. (President Watanabe)

In addition, the Minato-ku Sightseeing Photo Contest has no requirements on whether a person lives, works, or attends school in Minato-ku, and anyone can enter the contest. In fact, looking at the percentage of entrants in the past, 10% of the entrants were residents of or workers/students in Minato-ku, and the remaining 90% were from outside of Minato-ku.
The idea is to have people come to Minato-ku to take photos for the photo contest. That is exactly what the MINATO Travel & Tourism Association does, and that is the purpose of the photo contest. I also live in Minato-ku, but there are many spots that I do not know about, so I look forward to seeing the entries every time. You can also enter photos taken with a smartphone. Please feel free to come to Minato-ku and take lots of photos. (President Watanabe)

Announcement on the 21st contest

This year, the Special Area Award and the Theme Award have been newly established. The Special Area Award was established for the "Island Area," for Tokyo's islands, as Takeshiba in Minato-ku is the gateway to the Izu and Ogasawara Islands. In addition, the theme for this year's Theme Award is "Lively Streets." We are looking for attractive photos that capture the liveliness of Minato-ku.
"For the Special Area Award, we expect to see an increase in photos of islands such as Oshima and Hachijojima, as well as photos of boats. We created the Theme Award with the hope that people would not only choose from among the photos they have already taken and make entries, but also go out and take new photos after learning about the theme." (President Watanabe)

We are planning to hold the award ceremony this year, as we did last year.
"I hope this will motivate you when taking photos. Minato-ku has many tourist attractions, of course, but there are also many historic sites and natural beauty. We encourage everyone to enter their photos so that we can rediscover the charm of Minato-ku.” (President Watanabe)
This time, we shared with you the past award-winning works and President Watanabe's comments. Please use this as a reference and take photos of attractive spots in Minato-ku and send them to us. We look forward to your entries!

[Click here for details on how to make entries for the 21st Minato-ku Sightseeing Photo Contest 2023 (Application period is until January 10th, 2024.)]
https://visit-minato-city.tokyo/en/articles/546

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