Art & Design
Nima Sand Museum 仁摩サンドミュージアム
This unique museum inspired by “singing sands” is home to the world's biggest hourglass
When the small coastal town of Nima decided to build a museum inspired by the “singing sands” of Kotogahama Beach, internationally acclaimed architect Shin Takamatsu was a natural choice to design it since he was born in this sleepy little town. His design, using a total of six glass pyramids, is eye-catching and inviting.
- The world's biggest hourglass
- One kilometer of glorious white beach with sands that sing
- The beautiful six-pyramid structure at dusk
How to Get There
You can reach the museum by taking the JR Sanin Main Line, a plane, or a bus and then walking.
This museum can be reached via Hagi-Iwami Airport from Tokyo, or by express bus.
The museum is a 10-minute walk from Nima Station. The huge glass pyramids towering over the small town are impossible to miss.
Not an hourglass but a yearglass
You will hear the fine white sand squeakily “sing,” a phenomenon found in only a few other places in Japan. In the meseum, an hourglass that measures the duration of a year, sand sculptures, and sand from around the world and Japan are on display.
The centerpiece, set in the glass pyramids, is the largest sand-timer in the world.
Every December 31 at 11:55 p.m., this huge hourglass-shaped timer is turned half a turn to start the new year. One ton of fine sand begins to trickle through an aperture less than a millimeter wide, with a full year passing before the contents flow into the bottom.
Workshops focusing on glass
The museum offers a variety of hands-on workshops, mostly relating to glass, and the large park and play area behind the museum will amuse younger members of the family.
White sand beach stretching across the bay
Kotogahama is near to Maji Station, just one station down the Sanin Main Line, and is a wonderful beach with over a kilometer of fine white sand lapped by waves from a turquoise sea, may remind you of a tropical island.
At the end of the beach, a five-minute walk takes you into a beautiful narrow cove where silver was once shipped out from the nearby Iwami Ginzan silver mine.
* The information on this page may be subject to change due to COVID-19.