Friday, March 3, 2017

Chugoku Sanyo, San-in 中国地方山陽、山陰 - The Sand Museum 砂の美術館

Visited 19.04.2015 (Sun)

Outrageously good. What is the first thing that will come into your mind when you think about sand? For me, it will definitely be building sandcastles. One of my fondest childhood memory was to use pails of different sizes and spades to build my very own city of imagination on the beach and nearby neighborhood playground which had sand pit. This natural occurring compound is an excellent material that can be utilized to create sculptures in varied forms and level of details. Therefore, with abundance of sand available in Tottori, it was not a surprise to me to see a sand museum set up here. Having been to the snow festival in Hokkaido before, I have witnessed for myself the nearing perfectionist spirit of Japanese portrayed in the meticulously detailed gigantic snow and ice sculptures. And indeed the visit to the sand museum did not disappoint yet again. I was totally impressed by the outrageously good and sophisticated sand sculptures displayed right before my eyes!

Do you remember the story of The Pied Piper of Hamelin? Rats (and kids later on) lured away when the pied piper played his pipe.

Most of us should grow up with the story of Little Red Riding Hood. Though this story did not originate from Germany, it was compiled into a collection of fairy tales and published by the Grimm brothers. Even the details on the checked blanket were not missed out.

Theme on German Science featured Albert Einstein. The board reminded me of the formulas we learnt during Physics lessons.
Theme on German music. Johann Sebastian Bach (on the left), a German composer and musician of the Baroque period. 
Travel around the world with sand. The Sand Museum first opened its doors to visitors on 18 Nov 2006. Every year, sand art sculptors from different parts of the world gather here to transform sand from the coastline of Tottori city into amazing works of art. As the theme of the Sand Museum is "travel around the world with sand" (砂で世界旅行), the sand creations feature a different country or region every year. Into its 11th year, the spotlight is on northern Europe this time round (14 Apr 2018 to 6 Jan 2019).

Crowning of Charlemagne in A.D. 800. Charlemagne united the whole areas of Western Europe and consolidated education, culture and social discipline which brought along political stability. Due to these great achievements, he is also called "The father of Europe".

Dedicated to Martin Luther and his religion reform. Martin Luther was the man who reformed the council system in the Christian sphere in the 16th century. 

The luxurious and gorgeous castles of Germany in the background. The foreground featured The Kingdom of Bavaria, a German state in the 19th century.
When we visited the museum several years ago, it just underwent a complete renewal and re-opened to visitors again one day ago (on 18 Apr 2015)! The country featured at that point of time was Germany ドイツ(unfortunately a country which I have never visited before, till now) and large scale sand sculptures portraying different themes related to Germany were presented - folktales, historical moments, prominent landmarks, famous people, influential music, etc. I was awed by the high level of precision shown and was fascinated by the extremely fine details carved, shaped, molded in each and every sand art piece. That one question which kept popping up in my brain while scutinising these impressive sand sculptures, one after another was "How did they do this?". If you are like myself, a person who loves the pay attention to details, you will enjoy the Sand Museum tremendously.

Fall of the Berlin Wall. 
*Credits to The Sand Museum's brochure for the detailed write up on each art work. 


The Sand Museum 砂の美術館
〒689-0105 鳥取県鳥取市福部町湯山2083-17
Operating hours:
- Weekdays and Sundays: 0900 - 1800 hrs (last entry at 1730 hrs)
- Saturdays: 0900 - 2000 hrs (last entry at 1930 hrs)
Entrance fee = 600 yen

How to get there?

(1) By bus. From Tottori Station Bus Terminal Platform 0,
- Nihonkotsu Bus 日本交通バス or Hinomaru Bus 日ノ丸バス, heading for sand dunes and Sand Art Museum via Sakyu line (砂丘線).
Bus fare = 370 yen
Bus schedule (search for "砂丘線"):

- Nihonkotsu's Loop Kirinjishi Bus ループ麒麟獅子, which operates on weekends and public holidays. This bus covers sightseeing spots such as Warabekan わらべ館, Tottori Castle remains 鳥取城跡, Watanabe Art Museum 渡辺美術館, sand dunes and Sand Art Museum.
Flat fare = 300 yen; One day pass = 600 yen
Bus schedule (search for "ループ麒麟獅子"):


Commemorative stamp:

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