The Sand Museum, Tottori-shi, Japan

The Sand Museum (砂の美術館) first opened by the Tottori Sand Dunes, Tottori, Japan in 2006, displaying sand sculptures in temporary facilities. In 2012 it reopened in what is said to be the world’s first permanent indoor exhibition space dedicated to the art, with works by fifteen international sculptors.

The Sand Museum was founded in November 2006 as an open-air museum showing sand sculptures and is located on the edge of the Tottori Sand Dunes. In April 2012, the museum was renewed, having the world’s first indoor exhibition hall exclusively for sand sculptures. The world’s top class sand sculpture artists create and exhibit their detailed and overwhelming works here.

The sculptures in the Sand Museum are made for an exhibition theme which changes every year. After the exhibition period ends, the sculptures are put back to sand that is used for the new works during the next exhibition period.

This transience existing only for a limited period of time and the vulnerability of sculptures made of sand let them look even more beautiful.

Nature created the “Tottori Sand Dunes,” a formative beauty created over the years.

We want to create an unprecedented creative man-made beauty here and to excite and impress people who visit this site.

This desire came to life as the “Sand Museum” which opened at the Tottori Sand Dunes on November 18, 2006.

The museum is Japan’s only open-air museum exhibiting sculptures made of “sand.” Katsuhiko Chaen, who is now active domestically and abroad as a sand sculptor and producer, is attracting attention as one of “100 Japanese individuals the world respects,” is the executive producer of the museum. The highest level of sand sculptures in the world are exhibited every year, inviting sandsculptors from around the world.

Sand sculptures eventually collapse as the material is sand. You can see for a brief time, in that place. The transience is the attraction and beauty of sand sculpture.

The art of sand, features fragility and pathos hidden within the work.

Everyone will have an experience of playing in an enormous sand box or on a beach in their childhood. Such a “sand play,” in which anyone from children to adults can easily enjoy with deep concentration, is the origin of sand sculptures, and many sand sculptors have been successful around the world. Sand sculpturing is the art, you just carve a mass of sand hardened with water. Since the material is sand, there is always a danger of collapse from the start of creation through completion. Though it is a wonderful art work, it is prone to collapse and is temporal. The frailty produces the beauty of sand sculpture. Sand sculptors are challenged by sand, which is easily collapses. Sand sculptures which come into existence like this, continue to surprise and greatly excite many people.

Let’s make a foundation of sand sculpture

Sand sculpturing is the art just carved on a mass of sand hardened with water. Big sculptures exhibited in “The Sand Museum” need the construction of a pyramid-shaped wooden formwork to harden the sand, but anyone can make a small one rather easily. Let’s do it together!