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Across the road from the Tottori sand dunes is The Sand Museum exhibiting incredible giant sand sculptures. The Sand Museum opened in 2012 and it's the world's first and only museum dedicated to sand sculptures.The Sand Museum holds a sand sculpture exhibition from April to early January every year featuring a different country or region outside Japan. In 2017, the theme was the U.S.A.
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The Sand Museum is a short bus ride from JR Tottori Station.
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Sculpture outside the museum entrance.
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Sand Museum entrance.
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Sand Museum entrance.
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Sand Museum entrance had a sculpture of a dog since 2018 was the Year of the Dog.
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Entrance to exhibition area.
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Inside the Sand Museum in Tottori. Giant sand sculptures all representing the USA.
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The exhibition had 19 large and medium-size sculptures showcasing a major aspect of Americana, centering mostly on people.
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The sculptures were created by professional sand sculptors (didn't know there was such an occupation) mostly from overseas.
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Centerpiece sand sculpture when you enter the Sand Museum.
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This sand sculpture's theme was "Hollywood" in the 1950s-60s. John Wayne, Laurel and Hardy, Lucille Ball (I think). Tottori Sand Museum in 2017.
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Closeup of Marilyn Monroe in sand. That's her dress in "The Seven Year Itch." Tottori Sand Museum.
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Closeup of Marilyn Monroe sand sculpure.
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Charlie Chaplin
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John Wayne sand sculpture.
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Laurel sand sculpture.
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Hardy sand sculpture.
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Lucille Ball sand sculpture. Or maybe it's Judy Garland.
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About "Hollywood."
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The sand sculptures are made with tightly packed sand (minimal air between the grains). They don't use any adhesive. Just sand and water packed in a wooden mold, then carved.They don't use any reinforcing frames inside the sculptures either. So it's quite common for parts of the sculpture to fall off or break while the artist is making it.
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It takes a few weeks to complete a large sculpture. After the exhibition ends, the sculptures are sadly destroyed and the sand is reused for the next exhibition.
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Behind the Hollywood sculpture was the New York sculpture.
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Statue of Liberty Sand sculpture.
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About New York Sand sculpture.
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American junk food sand sculpture. Titled "American Life."
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Hamburger and ice cream float.
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About "American Life."
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American sports sand sculpture.
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Tennis player and volleyball player sand sculptures.
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Tennis player sand sculpture.
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Football player sand sculpture.
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Football player sand sculpture.
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It didn't depict anyone recognizable.
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Boxer sand sculpture.
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About "American Sports."
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American music, especially jazz. Looks like Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, and Preservation Hall in New Orleans.
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Ella Fitzgerald sand sculpture.
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About "American Music."
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The theme for this was "Prosperity and expansion to the world" with the Panama Canal as one example.
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President Theodore Roosevelt sand sculpture. Mr. Rough Rider himself. Look at how detailed it is. Notice the veins on his hand.
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President Theodore Roosevelt sand sculpture in Tottori.
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Abpit "Prosperity and expansion to the world."
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Thomas Edison, American inventor sand sculpture.
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Thomas Edison, American inventor.
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About American Invention and Industrialization.
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Rear part of the museum.
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Based on the novel "Uncle Tom's Cabin" about slavery.
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Looks like Gilligan from Gilligan's Island (Bob Denver).
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About "Uncle Tom's Cabin."
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Toward the rear of the museum was Mt. Rushmore in sand.
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Civil War and Abe Lincoln sand sculpture.
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Abraham Lincoln sand sculpture.
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Abraham Lincoln sand sculpture.
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About "Civil War and Abraham Lincoln."
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Signing the Declaration of Independence.
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Signing the Declaration of Independence, sand sculpture in Tottori.
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Ben Franklin.
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About "Declaration of Independence."
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Mt. Rushmore sand sculpture.
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Niagara Falls and Grand Canyon.
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Devil's Tower in sand.
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"Washington Crossing the Delaware" sand sculpture.
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"Washington Crossing the Delaware" sand sculpture.
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"Washington Crossing the Delaware" sand sculpture.
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"Washington Crossing the Delaware" sand sculpture.
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"Washington Crossing the Delaware" sand sculpture.
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"Washington Crossing the Delaware" sand sculpture. Very impressive.
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"Washington Crossing the Delaware" sand sculpture in Tottori, Japan.
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"Washington Crossing the Delaware" sand sculpture.
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George Washington sand sculpture.
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George Washington was in two sculptures.
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George Washington was in two sculptures.
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This pit in the middle features a water-related sculpture.
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Gold Rush sand sculptures.
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Gold Rush sand sculptures.
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Gold Rush sand sculptures.
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About "Gold Rush."
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Native Americans sand sculpture.
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Native American sand sculpture. Very realistic.
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About "Native Americans."
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Wildlife
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Bison
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Bear
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Ram
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"The Wild West" sand sculpture.
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"The Wild West" sand sculpture.
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"The Wild West" sand sculpture.
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"The Wild West"
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About the "The Wild West."
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American space exploration with the old Space Shuttle.
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American astronaut.
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About America's Space Program.
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American Art
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Andy Warhol sand sculpture complete with cans of Campbell soup.
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About "American Art"
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Outside the museum were a few medium-size sculptures.
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Outside the museum were a few medium-size sculptures. This was the Hawaiian one protected by a tarp.
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Hawaiian sand sculpture with a surfer on a wave joined by...
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Hula dancers. Nice that Hawaii was the only US state that got its own sculpture. Very appropriate since it's the closest one to Japan.
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Complete with tikis.
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Hawaiian hula sand sculpture in Tottori.
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However, the Hawaiian sculpture's explanation was disappointing. As you can see, it doesn't mention Hawaii's special relationship with Japan and the fact that hula is very popular in Japan. Not to mention that Tottori Prefecture also has a hot spring resort named "Hawai Onsen" (羽合温泉) where they hold a hula festival every summer.
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Nearby was another hula sculpture still in progress. I didn't understand why he was still working on this when this USA sand sculpture exhibition would end a few days after my visit. This USA sand sculpture exhibition ended on Jan. 3, 2018.
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Here's another outdoor sand scukpture.
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President Donald Trump as a sand sculpture in Tottori, Japan.
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President Donald Trump as a sand sculpture in Tottori, Japan.
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President Donald Trump as a sand sculpture in Tottori, Japan.
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USA sand sculptors.
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Sand Museum's 2nd floor has a cafe and gift shop.
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Sand Museum's gift shop also sold Hawaiian goods.
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View of the sand dunes from the Sand Museum.
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Tottori beach near the Chiyo River.
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Hakuto Beach, famous for the folktale about a white rabbit crossing the ocean on crocodile backs.
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