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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.

Nakatajima Shizuoka offers outdoor Nature and Beach of JapanNakatajima Shizuoka offers outdoor Nature and Beach of Japan

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.

Nakatajima Shizuoka offers outdoor Nature and Beach of JapanNakatajima Shizuoka offers outdoor Nature and Beach of Japan

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.

Nakatajima Shizuoka offers outdoor Nature and Beach of JapanNakatajima Shizuoka offers outdoor Nature and Beach of Japan

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.

Nakatajima Shizuoka offers outdoor Nature and Beach of JapanNakatajima Shizuoka offers outdoor Nature and Beach of Japan

    
Name Nakatajima Sand Dunes(中田島砂丘)
Category Natural landmark/sightseeing
Address Nakatajimacho, Minami Ward, Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture 430-0845
Access [map]Nakatajimacho, Minami Ward, Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture 430-0845[/map]
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Elena Galindo

Elena Galindo

Originally hailing from Italy, Elena has never ever been able to stay in one place for too long. She is currently living in Shizuoka, Japan, but constantly in the process of planning her next escapade. Though traveling is her main love in life, she also enjoys scouring vintage shops for the tackiest items, searching for the spiciest ramen in Japan, and writing about her (mis)adventures. Follow her instagram at @nouchali

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