The Tottori Sand Dunes are one of the most famous symbols of tourism in Tottori Prefecture, but the Sand Museum, located right next to the dunes, is also a popular tourist attraction.
The Sand Museum is home to many huge sand sculptures. All of them are so elaborate and expressive that it is hard to believe they are made of sand.
This article describes the highlights of the Sand Museum and how long it takes to visit.
About the Sand Museum
An exhibition of statues made of sand from sand dunes
In 2012, for the first time in the world, the Sand Museum was built in Tottori City, Tottori Prefecture, to exhibit statues made of sand. The sand from the Tottori Sand Dunes is used to make the statues on display at the museum.
The exhibition of the sand sculptures has been held every year since 2006 as an outdoor event, but since the construction of the museum, visitors have been able to view the sand sculptures inside the building, regardless of the weather.
The exhibits at the Sand Museum change every year
The exhibits at the Sand Museum change every year. This means that you will only be able to see the sand sculptures for one year.
Since 2009, the museum has been presenting the “Travel Around the World in Sand” series.
- America: 15/4/2017 – 31/1/2018
- Northern Europe: 14/4/2018 – 1/6/2019
- South Asia: 13/4/2019 – 1/5/2020
- Czech Republic & Slovakia: 2020/7/11 – 2021/1/3 and 2021/3/1 – 2022/1/3
In the “Travel Around the World in Sand: Czech & Slovak Edition” in 2021, visitors can admire sand sculptures of castles, landscapes, nature and plants. The exhibition will run from 1 March 2021 to 3 January 2022.
* Please note that the Sand Museum itself will be closed from January to March outside the exhibition period.
This article presents photos of the sand sculptures in the “America” edition.
Highlights of the Sand Museum
Entrance to the Sand Museum
This is the entrance to the Sand Museum. We were welcomed by a statue of a sand lady in a cowboy hat.
Travel Around the World: America Edition
As we entered the museum, we saw many statues that were much larger than life-size. This is a statue of George Washington from the Revolutionary War.
This is the beautiful New York Statue of Liberty and the skyscrapers of New York City.
This is a statue of President Lincoln. The faces of the people are elaborately made.
There were also statues of American animals. Moose with their powerful antlers, bighorns with their magnificent fur, wolves and other animals. How did they make the sand hard?
The view from the third floor of the building
On the third floor of the museum there is a corridor with a balustrade, which allows you to see all the exhibits from above like this. In the centre are sand sculptures of Hollywood film stars such as Marilyn Monroe and Chaplin, American musicians and Mount Rushmore.
We were there just before the end of the exhibition, so there was hardly anyone in the museum and we had the exhibits all to ourselves.
Artists from all over the world
Here are some photos of the artists who made the sand sculptures. Looking at the nationalities, it seems that the sand sculptors come from all over the world, not just the USA.
How long does it take to visit the museum?
A visit to the Sand Museum should take between one and two hours, taking in everything from the ground floor to the first floor exhibition rooms and the observation deck on the third floor.
Sand Museum Summary
A museum where you can see new sand sculptures every year
What did you think? It’s a great museum with a great exhibition.
All the sand sculptures are destroyed at the end of the exhibition period to make way for the next one. It seems a pity to lose such a powerful work of art in just one year.
I would like to visit the Sand Museum again on my next trip to Tottori.
Prices, access, opening hours and parking at the Sand Museum
|Access||20 minutes by car from Tottori Station or Tottori IC|
|Entrance fees||Adults: 600 yen, Students: 300 yen, Children under 12: free|
|Opening hours||9:00～16:00（Saturday only until 6pm）|
|Parking||Free parking is available|
Discounted advance tickets for the Sand Museum can be purchased at Lawson and other convenience stores up to the day before the exhibition period begins.
Why not combine a visit to the Sand Museum with a visit to the Tottori Sand Dunes?