In early August, as much of the country suffered through some of its hottest temperatures on record, a small town in Hokkaido welcomed visitors from around the world to an annual photography festival that celebrated the outdoors.

Under sunny skies and low humidity, with the temperature hovering in the mid-20s, young amateur photographers from Japan and abroad journeyed to the small town of Higashikawa for the 4th International High School Students' Photo Festival Exchange.

For about a week, 21 teams, including 18 from abroad, would wander around the farms, fields and forested areas of the central Hokkaido town of just under 8,200 in search of the perfect snapshot.