Exploring the Nakatajima Sand Dunes
The sand dunes are located in Hamamatsu City, Shizuoka Prefecture (map), and are only a few steps away from the Hamamatsu Festival Pavilion, so it’s a good idea to visit both in one go. For access information please refer to the information box at the end of this post.
One of Japan’s three largest sand dunes
I’ve not been to the one in Chiba, but I’ve been to the famous sand dunes in Tottori and they were really breathtaking! If you ask me the sand dunes in Tottori are the best in Japan! Once I post about them, you’ll understand why.
If you visit the festival pavilion in Hamamatsu, it’s definitely worth to check out the sand dunes as well. If you’ve never seen sand dunes in Japan, it’ll be a nice experience, but for the “real thing” you definitely should go to Tottori instead.
You don’t need much time. I also only spent about 10 minutes there. If you don’t have a busy schedule, I recommend taking a walk.
The sand dunes are stretching 4km from east to west and 600m from north to south. It’s just a few steps to the Pacific Ocean.
Sand dunes in Japan? How come?
The Nakatajima Sand Dunes were created by sediment deposits that came from the Southern Japanese Alps. The Tenryu River brought it all the way into the Pacific Ocean. As the sea currents and wind are quite strong there, sand is brought from the bottom up onto the shore. The wind will constantly change the shape and look of the sand dunes. While the sand dunes have been around for several thousands of years, the area has been decreasing ever since. In the past 40 years the shoreline shrank by roughly 200m.
On a windy day you can see “ripple marks” in the sand.
I was pretty much the only one there on that day. It’s a lot of fun to leave your footprints in the sand!
The Hamamatsu Kite Festival takes place at the Nakatajima Sand Dunes from May 3rd to 5th. It’s also a great place to see a wonderful sunset or sunrise! Many people come to see the first sunrise of the year on New Year’s Day (hatsuhinode, 初日の出).
Since March 2011 you have tsunami warning signs almost everywhere, but I found this one extremely cute!
|T O U R I S T I N F O R M A T I O N|
|Opening Hours:||always open|
|Holidays:||none (but from May 3rd – 5th the kite battles of the Hamamatsu Festival are held there)|
|Time required:||5 min. – 1h (there’s not much to see, just sand, so it all depends on how much time you have)|
|TEL:||(+81)053-452-1634 (Hamamatsu Tourist Information)|
|Access:||From JR Hamamatsu Station take bus #6 bound for “Nakatajima Iki” (~ 15 min.) and get off at “Nakatajima Sakyu”. From there it’s only a 2 min. walk.|
After visiting Hamamatsu Castle, the Hamamatsu Festival Pavilion and the Nakatajima Sand Dunes I still had enough time to go somewhere else. My next stop of the day was Kakegawa Castle which is also in Shizuoka Prefecture.