The forceful Hamamatsu winds may not have the best reputation, but they can be thanked for giving us the Nakatajima Sand Dunes, one of three major sand dune areas in Japan and a beautiful natural sight to behold. Another one of nature’s beautiful gifts, the Nakatajima sand dune area is an expanse of approximately 2.4 square kilometers, (0.6 km from north to south and 4.0 km from east to west) filled with sandy hills that open up to a breathtaking view of the Pacific Ocean.
Fed with sand originating from the Southern Japanese Alps, the dunes have been extant for thousands of years, making them a scientific marvel as well as a scenic one. In more recent years, the dunes have been receding due to diminished sand accumulation as dams along the nearby Tenryu River have reduced water access and sedimentation. As a result, several efforts have been undertaken in order to prevent further loss, such as a ban on exporting the sand for commercial reasons. The dunes are also an important conversational hot spot for loggerhead turtles, which nest amongst the dunes. Conservation studies of the turtles and their eggs are conducted at Nakatajima.
For the local or the casual tourist, the dunes represent a pleasant weekend escape from the city, where you can go for a leisurely photo-walk and enjoy the views. Popular pastimes on the dunes include jogging, kite flying, or simply dipping your feet into the Pacific Ocean’s cooling waters. In surrounding areas you can grab some ice cream, or go biking. For a particularly beautiful sight of what nature has to offer, visit the dunes around sunset and watch as the sandy dunes become bathed in beautiful orange light.
The dunes are also a popular spot to welcome in the New Year by watching the first sunrise on January 1. If you happen to be in the area between May 3 and May 5, do not miss the Hamamatsu Matsuri, where hundreds of colorful kites fill the skies for kite battles over the dunes as part of the festival celebrations.
|Name||Nakatajima Sand Dunes(中田島砂丘)|
|Address||Nakatajimacho, Minami Ward, Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture 430-0845|
|Access||[map]Nakatajimacho, Minami Ward, Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture 430-0845[/map]|