Translated by Lester Somera
Historical Sculptures Made Of Sand?! The Tottori Sand Museum
The Sand Museum in Tottori celebrates the prefecture's most famous natural feature: sand. We'll introduce you to the charms of this unique museum.
Written by LIFE STYLE, Inc.
It almost goes without saying that Tottori prefecture is best known for the Tottori sand dunes, a famous Japanese sightseeing spot. Created by nature over the course of many years, the magnificence and grace of the sand dunes, as far as the eye can see, are overwhelming. The dunes have secrets, as well.
This time, we will investigate a place beside those sand dunes: the Sand Museum, which exhibits art images made of sand.
Based around the concept of “travel the world through sand,” different exhibitions are held at the Sand Museum every year. This time, we will use Google Street View to introduce the seventh such display - the “Sand World Tour: Russia” exhibition, held from April 19th, 2014, to January 4th, 2015. Marvel at the enchanting natural beauty of sand in 360 degrees.
Look Out at the Dunes from the Museum
From the Sand Museum, located in Tottori city, you can see the sand dunes right before your eyes. After coming to JR Tottori Station via train, it takes up to 20 minutes to reach the museum by bus or taxi. If you’re coming from Tokyo, fly from Haneda Domestic Airport to Tottori Sand Dunes Conan Airport. You can catch a connecting bus to JR Tottori Station, then head to the museum from there.
It’s difficult to say that the museum is easily accessible, but it’s said that a longer journey helps you to relish the destination even more. Let’s hurry inside the museum with Street View to enjoy the charms of the Sand Museum.
First, Learn about the Creation of the Sand Sculptures and Natural Scenery
First, let’s check the first floor of the interior. Here, panels introduce the techniques used to make the sand sculptures and natural scenery, as well as the people who made them. By bearing witness to the beauty, transience and splendor of moments during the creation process, you can catch glimpses of the feelings and mindsets of the people who built these works of art.
Let’s head up to the second floor area. This is the main area, where the sand sculptures are put on display.
Right after you enter, you will see the “Rurik” sculpture to your right; the founder of the Russian nation, Rurik, is rendered here in sand.
While looking at the sand sculptures, you can learn about Russian history. The material on display is fascinating for both art appreciators and history buffs.
Catherine the Great
A sculpture of “Catherine II” is displayed at the back of the exhibition area. Born in 1729 in the Holy Roman Empire (present-day Germany), she later married the crown prince of Russia. Her name is inscribed in history for her role in Russian modernization.
Catherine II is known as “the Great” for her work in the territorial expansion of Russia, and she influenced many aspects of Russian life. The strength of her spirit is wonderfully captured in the facial expressions of the sculpture.
Survey All the Sculptures from the Third Floor
Climb to the third floor to view all of the sculptures from above. There is a rest area here as well, so you can take a break after you’ve finished looking at all the exhibits.
From the third floor, you can head outside to the “Viewing Plaza.” You can see different displays here, and get an unbroken view of the dunes.
Tottori Sand Dunes
Finally, let’s look at Tottori’s famous sand dunes with Street View. With peaks and dips that have a maximum height difference of 47 meters, the largest such difference in the country, the dunes are quite famous; the extensive sandy area spans 16 kilometers from east to west, and two kilometers from north to south.
At the beach sand dunes, located by the Sea of Japan, you can enjoy activities like paragliding and sandboarding, or spend some elegant time riding a camel. The dunes may just be sand, but they have many charms, too. By all means, explore them for yourself.
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Sand Museum (Suna no bijutsukan 砂の美術館)
Address: Tottori-ken, Tottori-shi, Fukubechō Yuyama 2083-17
Hours: Weekdays and Sundays 09:00 - 18:00, Saturdays 09:00 - 20:00
Closed: Always open during exhibition periods; the duration of exhibition periods varies by year
Credit Cards: JCB, VISA, Mastercard, Amex
Other Languages: No
Pamphlets in Other Languages: English
Nearest Station and Access: From JR Tottori Station’s bus terminal, take the #0 “Sunahama Line” (砂丘線) bus. Get off at the “Sand Museum” (砂の美術館前) stop and walk for one minute.
Price range: 600 yen (regular patrons), 300 yen (students)
Phone number: 0857-20-2231
Website: Sand Museum