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COOL JAPAN VIDEOS is always holding photo contests. This time, we have selected works depicting Japan's Kansai region from among the many photos submitted to past COOL JAPAN VIDEOS Photo Contests, and will introduce some photography tips on timing, composition, etc. to help you take great photos with your smartphone! Be sure to try them out the next time you're sightseeing in Japan's Kansai region.

COOL JAPAN VIDEOS is a social, video curation site that introduces the charms of Japan to people around the world who are interested in Japan.

Our photo contests allow you to participate and even win with photos taken via your smartphone! Stick around to learn more!



Among the many works that convey the charms of Japan, we have carefully selected photos of sightseeing spots in Japan's Kansai region. We will also introduce some highlights of each area, photography tips, and related video articles to check out.

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Photographer: たっかー
Location: Shirahige Shrine (Takashima, Shiga)

Highlights and Photography Tips for Shirahige Shrine, Lake Biwa
Shirahige Shrine is a popular power spot in Japan and is the oldest shrine in Omi. There are many photogenic sights, including the main shrine, the shrine office, and other historical buildings, as well as Iwato Shrine located at the far end of the shrine grounds. But the best place for photos is the Great Torii Gate standing in Lake Biwa! You can capture various scenes of the torii as it stands against the rising sun and on the surface of the lake at sunset from the observatory on the shrine grounds.

A Video Article About Shirahige Shrine, a Popular Tourist Attraction



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Photographer: たっかー
Location: Dotonbori (Osaka City, Osaka Prefecture)

Highlights and Photography Tips for Dotonbori a downtown area in Osaka's Minami district
Dotonbori is a well-known shopping district in Osaka's Minami district. Lined with theatres and restaurants, it has been crowded with people since Edo period Japan to the present day. Ebisu Bridge, which spans the Dotonbori River, is a great place to take photos. The huge billboard of "Glico" is proof that Osaka is a popular tourist attraction. The Kuidaore Taro doll and the giant three-dimensional billboards are photo spots that symbolize downtown Osaka.

A Video Article About the Shinsekai and Tsutenkaku Areas of Osaka



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Photographer: Shunkai_k
Location: Lake Oike (Nara City, Nara Prefecture)

Highlights and Photography Tips for Wakakusa Yamayaki
Wakakusa Yamayaki, an event held every year on the fourth Saturday in January in Japan, is a traditional event in Nara. The flames spread across 81 acres of grassland on Mt. Wakakusa in Nara Park. The foot of Mt. Wakakusa, where visitors can see Mt. Wakakusa up close as it burns, as well as Ukigumo Enchi and Kasugano Enchi, which offer panoramic views of Mt. Wakakusa, are all popular sightseeing spots. From Oike in Nishinokyo, visitors can take photos of Yakushiji Temple and the Mt. Wakakusa fireworks.

A Video Article About Yakushiji Temple, a Power Spot in Nara Prefecture



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Photographer: Smartone Templeslope
Location: The Great Buddha Hall of Todaiji Temple from Mt. Wakakusa (Nara City, Nara Prefecture)

Highlights and Photography Tips for Nara Park, a Popular Tourist Attraction
Nara Park is dotted with historical buildings such as Todaiji Temple, Shosoin Temple, Kofukuji Temple, and Kasuga Taisha Shrine in a rich natural setting. It is also a popular tourist attraction for cherry blossoms and autumn leaves. If you want to take pictures of autumn leaves and deer, we recommend Tobihino and Ukigumo Enchi in Nara Park.

A Video Article About Tourist Attractions in Nara Prefecture



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Photographer: tabokin
Location: Hidari Daimonji seen from Mt. Yoshida (Sakyo, Kyoto)

Photography Tips for Gozan no Okuribi, a Summer Event in Kyoto
Gozan no Okuribi is a summer tradition in Kyoto. It's a Bon Festival event held every year on August 16 where fires are lit on five mountains surrounding the city of Kyoto. The characters "Daimonji" (大文字), "Myo/Ho" (妙・法), "Funagata" (船形), "Hidari Daimonji" (左大文字), and "Toriigata" (鳥居形) are lit in sequence from 8:00 p.m. onward. Mt. Yoshida, located on Mt. Okita and facing Daimonji, is lit by "Hidari Daimonji." 10 minutes up the mountain, there is a photo spot where you can get a full view of the Daimonji, which is highly recommended.

A Video Article About Gozan no Okuribi, a Traditional Event in Kyoto



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Photographer: しんご @shingo_camera
Location: Ine (Yosa, Kyoto)

The Sea Sparkles of Ine, Kyoto
Every year from April to the end of May, there are days when Ine Bay in Kyoto, Japan glows a brilliant blue. The cause of this is noctiluca scintillans, aka sea sparkles. Unlike sea fireflies, sea sparkles emit blue light in response to physical stimuli. Therefore, whenever they are stimulated by waves, large numbers of sea sparkles begin to glow. During the day, when there's a red tide in the bay and a strong southward wind blows, there's a high probability of seeing sea sparkles.

A Video Article About the Funaya of Ine, Kyoto



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Photographer: st situation
Location: Himeji Castle (Himeji, Hyogo)

Highlights and Photography Tips for Cherry Blossoms at Himeji Castle
Himeji Castle, selected as one of the Top 100 Cherry Blossom Viewing Spots in Japan, is home to approximately 1,600 cherry trees, including Someiyoshino cherry trees and weeping cherry trees, which can be seen in full bloom in the spring. Sannomaru Square (三の丸広場, San no Maru Hiroba), Senhime Botan Garden (千姫ぼたん園, Sen Hime Botan-en), and Nishi no Maru Garden (西の丸庭園, Nishi no Maru Teien) are popular spots for taking photos of Himeji Castle and the cherry blossoms. The atmospheric composition of Himeji Castle, cherry blossoms, and a Japanese sightseeing boat in the inner moat of Himeji Castle with the red Shiromi Bridge in the background creates an incredibly photogenic shot.

A Video Article About Cherry Blossoms at Himeji Castle in Hyogo Prefecture



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Photographer: Nguyen Vu
Location: The Takeda Castle Ruins from the Ritsuunkyo Observation Deck (Asago, Hyogo)

Highlights and Photography Tips for the Takeda Castle Ruins
The Takeda Castle Ruins, located on the summit of Mt. Kojo in Asago, Hyogo, are the site of a mountain castle whose stone walls are still almost completely intact, some 400 years after the castle was abandoned. On a clear autumn morning, the area around the castle is sometimes shrouded in thick fog, leaving the Takeda Castle Ruins at the top of the mountain. A good spot to photograph the Takeda Castle Ruins floating in a sea of clouds is the Ritsuunkyo Observation Deck (立雲峡, Ritsuunkyo), located halfway up Mt. Asago opposite the castle ruins.

A Video Article About the Take Castle Ruins, the "Castle in the Sky"



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Photographer: 女子高校生
Location: The Kumano Kodo (Higashimuro, Wakayama)

Highlights and Photography Tips for Daimonzaka on the Kumano Kodo
Daimonzaka, located on the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage trail, is the entrance to Kumano Nachi Taisha Shrine and Nachi Falls, both of which were visited by people in ancient times. The "Meoto Sugi" (Lover Cedar Trees), estimated to be 800 years old, the stone pavement, the grove of centuries-old cedar trees, and the moss-covered stone steps are a must-see for photographers and travelers alike. Kumano Nachi Taisha Shrine, one of the Kumano Sanzan (three great temples of the Kumano region), and Nachi Falls, one of the Top 3 Waterfalls in Japan, are also popular spots.

A Video Article About the Kumano Kodo, a World Heritage Site



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Photographer: いくみ
Location: Hashigui-iwa Rocks (Higashimuro, Wakayama)

Highlights and Photography Tips for Hashigui-iwa Rocks, a Popular Tourist Attraction
The Hashigui-iwa Rocks are a group of uniquely-shaped rocks in the town of Kushimoto on the southern tip of Wakayama. It consists of more than 40 rock pillars of all shapes and sizes that form a straight line extending roughly 850 meters into the sea. The scenery has been selected as one of the Top 100 Sunrise Spots in Japan, so be sure to take photos of it at sunrise! The best spot to photograph it is from the parking lot of Roadside Station Kushimoto Hashigui-iwa (道の駅くしもと橋杭岩, Michi no Eki Kushimoto Hashigui-iwa). With silhouettes of rock pillars, the sky and the sea, it's possible to capture various appearances with creative use of exposure, composition, and white balance.

A Video Article About the Shirasaki Coast in Wakayama Prefecture



COOL JAPAN VIDEOS is a social, video curation site that shares the charms of Japan with people all over the world who are interested in Japan.
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「COOL JAPAN VIDEOS photo contests are open to everyone! Even a photo taken by chance with your smartphone could win a prize! Here are some of the features of our contests.

・Photos taken not only with SLR cameras and digital cameras, but also with smartphones and other devices can be submitted.
・You can submit as many photos as you like during the contest period.
・Image editing, such as cropping and color changes, is also allowed!

Here you can find all of the past photo contest winners in one place. You can also see the prizes for each contest, as well as the locations where the photos were taken and the judges' critiques.

Click here to see past photo contest winners


The following is information about the current photo contest.

[Ongoing From Jan 2023] The 15th COOL JAPAN VIDEOS Photo Contest
Theme: Japan Travel Destinations You Recommend Visiting in 2023
Submission period: January 1, 2023 12:00 AM - February 28, 2023 11:59 AM (Japan time)
Prizes: ■Grand Prize: 30,000 yen Amazon gift card (1 Winner) ■Honorable Mentions: 10,000 yen Amazon gift card (5 Winners)

2023 Photo Contest –

That concludes our introduction of beautiful photos of tourist attractions in Japan's Kansai Region in past COOL JAPAN VIDEOS Photo Contests. Next time you're visiting any of these tourist attractions, be sure to try out some of these photography tips! With the spread of smartphones, the world of photography has become more accessible than ever. We invite you to share your photos of Japan with the people of the world by submitting them to COOL JAPAN VIDEOS.

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Written By
Last Updated : Jan. 19, 2023
Japan
COOL JAPAN VIDEOS運営ライター(COOL JAPAN VIDEOS Team Writer)
I focus on keeping users informed about what the CJV team wants to share with you.
Kansai in COOL JAPAN VIDEOS Photo Contests: 10 Spectacular Views of Japan's Kansai Region. From Night Views to Traditional Events, Discover the Best Photo Spots in Kansai!
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