Additional warning signs at the largest dunes in Japan should make it clear to tourists once and for all: engraving your name in the sand is not innocent at all.
You would believe it by now, wherever tourists go, they always leave a trail of destruction behind. They also experienced that in Japan. Tottori, a city on the northwestern coast of Japan, stands on the radar of many tourists, through the huge sand dunes, the largest in the country, that were formed a hundred years ago. The dune is sixteen kilometers long and sometimes more than fifty meters high. Whoever climbs the sand dune is treated to a beautiful sea view.
Problem: more and more visitors leave their name or a message in the sand, and that is not as innocent as it seems. The sand dune is part of the Sanin Kaigan National park, and according to the rules no changes should be made to the landscape. If you write in the sand, you risk a fine of up to 50,000 yen
Despite this measure, more and more cases of vandalism are being reported. 228 incidents of ‘graffiti in the sand’ were recorded last year, compared to 200 in 2017.
One of the reasons is the increased number of foreign tourists, who are increasingly finding their way to the sand dune through photos on Instagram. And they don’t always know what is allowed and not allowed. That is why the prefecture has decided to place extra warning signs at the different entrances in English, Chinese and Korean.