Would you like to see the largest hourglass in the world? You can find it at the Nima Sand Museum of Oda, Shimane Prefecture in Japan (not too far from Hiroshima). It is a museum featuring the sand of the nearby Kotogahama beach, which is popular for the sound made by the sand on the beach when you walk on it. The museum consists of six pyramid-style glass houses that enclose several sand-related attractions.
The Nima Sand Museum was publicly opened by the local mayor on March 3, 1991. The main reason to found the museum was to create a spot for tourists where they can admire a collection of artworks, that is made by utilising the ‘singing sand’ taken from the Kotogahama beach. This special sand can only be found in some places around the world. The sound emitted comes from a bed of musical grains. Some people hear the beauty in it, while other people claim that the sound may seem like a squeaky noise rather than being melodious.
The museum was designed by Shin Takamatsu, a leading Japanese architect who was born in Nima. Some people believe that it was built tall so his mother’s grave site would be clearly visible from the top. No matter what the reason is for the shape of the museum, the place surely holds many wonders inside which are very interesting to explore.
The museum holds the world’s largest hourglass called ‘Sunagoyomi’, which has a height of 5.2 meters, and a weight of 560 kg resting on a base with four sides. It is filled with a total of 629,100,000,000 musical grains, and it takes exactly one whole year for the upper glass to empty into the lower glass. This is why it has also been called the “sand calendar.” The grains continuously flow into the nozzle and is being flipped onto the other side at the end of the year. It immediately starts trickling again at midnight on the 1st of January.
If you want to learn more about singing sand, the Nima Sand Museum is definitely the place to go. Its steel pyramids hold interesting sand facts, and the huge hourglass guarantees a trip worthwhile of your time!
You can click here for more information about the museum and the region.