Travel Japan: The Sand Museum, a Photo Story

For undulating sand dunes straight out of Arabian Nights look no further than Japan’s least populated prefecture, our very near neighbour, Tottori. That’s right, just to our north west you can live out your Ali Baba fantasies, complete with camels and hundreds of other tourists.

The Tottori Sand Dunes are Japan’s only dune system, and protected by being part of the various natural and national parks which cover 14% of the prefecture’s total land area. When you visit you can try sand boarding, surfing and the freshest of fresh sushi.


SONY DSCBut that’s not all…

If you thought KIX airport was your gateway to Asia, and Peach’s pink aeroplane your chariot you would be sadly mistaken. This year, the Tottori Sand Dunes are a portal direct to the wonders of the East. In an hour you can take a whistle-stop tour from Bali to Singapore, the Philippines and back; admire the majesty of Indian elephants, take in a Chinese shadow puppet show and see Angkor Watt in all its intricate glory. How? Why at The Sand Museum of course. Now don’t scoff at the name and think naively (as I did with no pre-trip research) that this will be a boring education in where sand comes from, or the use of spits to protect beaches from erosion. In fact, don’t think of it as a museum at all; let us call it a sand gallery, for inside this deceptively named building is an incredible selection of jaw-dropping sand sculptures.

The 2013-2014 exhibition is titled “Around the world in sand: South-East Asia” and features the work of 17 award-winning sand sculptors from all over the world. This year’s theme was chosen to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the ASEAN-Japan Exchange. (Association of South-East Asian Nations) and does a superb job of it, celebrating the splendour of the region’s past as well as its impressive modern development.


Charlotte Griffiths

For more information:


Entry: 600 ¥ (adults), 300 ¥ (children)

Open: 9am – 8pm

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