The Sand Museum of Tottori: World’s First Indoor Museum Dedicated to Sand Sculptures

Tottori Sand Museum in Japan was opened on November 18, 2006. The sculptures in the museum are entirely made from sand. In fact, they are made specifically from the sand dunes in Tottori. The sand formations were created over thousands of years. They are under state protection and are located in San’in Kaigan National Park, part of the UNESCO Global Geoparks.

The Sand Museum has held 14 exhibitions since its opening in 2006. Each of these exhibitions aims to show the cultural heritage of humanity and focuses on different regions of the world through sand replicas. The name and the theme of the exhibitions change every year based on the concept of the museum which is ”Travel Around the World in Sand”. Naturally, the exhibitions are not permanent. But the museum’s charm lies in the inherent impermanence of the sand, which is linked to the Japanese virtue of appreciating impermanent things. The Sand Museum built a special exhibition hall in 2011 and became the world’s first indoor museum dedicated to sand sculptures.

Here are some of the best works from the Sand Museum.

The 14th Exhibition ”Travel Around the World in Sand, Egypt”

Travel Around the World in Sand - Egypt, The Sand Museum

The 12th Exhibition is called ”Travel around the World in Sand, South Asia – Religious Devotion, Diverse Cultures, and the Road to Peace” and focuses on South Asia’s important figures and works.

Travel Around the World in Sand - South Asia, The Sand Museum

This sculpture from the 12th exhibition is called The Love Story of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz. Shah Jahan, the Mughal Empire’s fifth emperor, built the Taj Mahal for his wife Mumtaz.


The sand replica of the Prague Astronomical Clock and Sedlec Ossuary. The work belongs to the 13th Exhibition called “Travel around the World in Sand, Czechia and Slovakia – A History of Prosperity and Decline – Traces of Sacred Mystery”

Travel Around the World in Sand - Czechia and Slovakia, The Sand Museum

The Prophecies of Princess Libuse, from the 13th Exhibition


Cesky Krumlov from the 13th Exhibition


The sculpture from the 13th Exhibition depicts the opening sentence in The Metamorphosis, the famous work of the Czech novelist Franz Kafka.

The Metamorphosis, The Sand Museum

A sculpture from the ”Egypt” exhibition


The Love Story of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz, from the 12th Exhibition


The 10th Exhibition is called ”Travel around the World in Sand, The United States of America – Visit the Land of Liberty and the World Renowned Natural Splendor”.

This work is called American Culture… ”Movies”. It is dedicated to the world-renowned film sector of Hollywood and the famous actors and actresses.

Travel Around the World in Sand - USA, The Sand Museum

This work is called American Music and it features the famous jazz artists.

A work from the ”Egypt” exhibition

The statue of the Grimm Brothers from the 8th Exhibition called ”Travel Around the World in Sand, Germany – Traces of the Middle Ages and a Visit to the Fairlyland”

Travel Around the World in Sand - Germany, The Sand Museum