But it has only been during the last decade that the industry has begun to boom and nail artists have made their mark on the Japanese fashion field.
Akihiko Nakajima said, "There are 800 contestants competing today. Combined with the same number of models that makes a total of 1,600 participants."
The contest is separated into 3 basic categories -- nail care, nail sculpture, and nail art.
Sachiko Nakasone said, "What we as judges are looking for in the nail sculpture contest is firstly form. Do the nails look beautiful or not? Do the nails look natural, do they have the same quality and thickness as natural nails? These are the points that we judge the contestants on."
However, the final decision will be based on the coordination of hair, make-up, wardrobe and nails.
Each year contestants are given a different design theme -- and this year's was Aqua Metropolis.
The title was claimed by team Neko.
Yu Nakai said, "We came up with the idea about 2 months ago and it has taken 2 or 3 weeks to put it all together."
Apart from the competition, the nail festival also has a trade show.
Here, visitors have the opportunity to take a look at some of the industry's latest innovations.
The Japanese nail industry continues to generate impressive revenues. It was valued at 1.7 billion dollars in 2007. And just under 2.2 billion dollars in 2008.