Showing posts with label Nima. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nima. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Nima Harbour


Nima, a small town on the coast of Shimane is probably most famous nowadays for its unusual Sand Museum dedicated to the singing sands of nearby Kotogahama Beach.

The most sheltered part of the harbour is the main branch of the Shio River which has been blocked off forcing the river to empty into the sea down a fork. This has left a deep channel sheltered behind what was an island. The river was blocked off by rocks, not a concrete wall, which suggests it was done earlier.

The new harbour is a typical concrete affair with a big breakwater just outside its entrance.

There were not a lot of boats, and just one larger squid boat, but the harbour does have an ice machine. Japan Fisheries is the marine equivalent of Japan Agriculture, both technically co-operatives but in essence, massive organizations controlling huge budgets most of which seems to end up with the biggest Japanese corporations, especially concrete companies.

Just outside the new harbour is a rock outcropping called Kaiju Rock. I believe kaiju is a relatively new word that refers to giant monsters, the most famous being of course Godzilla.

Just past the harbour is a small, delightful beach..... The previous post was on the walk from Maji

Sunday, January 7, 2024

Japan Sea Coast Maji to Nima


From Maji, the village that has Kotogahama Beach, to Nima, the next settlement up the coast, there is no coastal road and so the road rises to cross over the headland.

Looking back down the coast I can see the coastline I have walked along for the past three days, with the tall chimneys at Gotsu, my starting point, just visible.

The narrow road through the forest is uninhabited for about 2k until the road drops down to the Shiono River.

This is the main river of Nima, but is not very big and starts nearby in the mountains around Iwami Ginzan.

I walk up to the mouth of the river to see the views before backtracking and heading into Nima Port

The previous post in this series on the Japan Sea Coast was on Kotogahama Beach.

Monday, August 22, 2022

Ginzan Kaido & Iwami Castle


Mid-January, 2013, early morning along the Shio River in Nima and the start of day 4 of my walk along the Iwami Kannon pilgrimage.

The next few temples on the pilgrimage are at  Iwami Ginzan, the World Heritage listed former silver mine in the mountains inland. The road I will take is now the fastest way to visit the mine, though it is not one of the two ginzan kaido, mine roads, that are part of the World Heritage site. There were many ginzan kaido radiating out from the silver mine as it was the most valuable silver mine in Japan in its heyday.

A couple of kilometers up the road and you pass a rocky outcropping with a couple of shrines at the base. On top of the 154 meter "mountain" is where Iwami castle stood.

A natural fortress, the Ouchi Clan built the original fortifications in the early 16th Century and it was taken over by the Mori Clan a few years later when they gained control of the mine.

After 1600 when the Tokugawa Shogunate took control of the mines and the surrounding lands the castle fell into disuse. The site is now one of the numerous sites that are World Heritage listed.

The red label on the map above shows the location of the castle. The grey-blue area is the silver mine, and the two routes are the ginzan kaido that are listed as World heritage sites.

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Nima Sand Museum Interior


These shots were all taken inside the largest pyramid at the Sand Museum in Nima, Shimane.

Suspended above your head is the largest sand timer in the world, the main attraction of the museum.

The #hourglass" itself is 6 meters tall and one meter wide and contains almost one full ton of fine sand which takes a year to pass through the narrow aperture.

On new years eve every year the sandtime is lowered to the floor and at midnight is rotated so that the sand starts to flow again.

Other artworks connected with sand and a variety of events have been tried over the years to popularize the museum, but most visitors seem more attracted to the architecture.

I suspect the place is not making any money at all and I am sure it will not be able to stay open too much longer, though the proximity to the World Heritage sites of Iwami Ginzan may supply enough viitors to forestall that event.

Saturday, April 30, 2022

Nima Sand Museum

Nima Sand Museum Japan

Nima Sand Museum.

I have posted on the Nima Sand Museum before, but it was a long time ago, and the posts no longer have photos. It is one of the local architectural attractions that hasn't closed down, though I believe it is not making money.


A nearby beach, Kthahama, is famous for having "singing sand", that is to say it squeaks when walked on. The local mayor decided this was a good enough reason to oen a unique museum devoted to sand.

Nima Sand Museum.

The museum is toed with a series of glass pyramids which make it easy to spot when passing nearby. In fact it is said that the architect made the tallest pyramid tall enough so that it could be seen from his mother's grave.


Shin Takamatsu is one of my favorite Japanese architects, and being a local man Shimane has quite a few of his buildings, which often feature simple geometric forms, though the structure closest to this one is probably Seirei, a Buddhist "chapel" near Osaka.


If you are wondering what a sand museum could display, the answer is "not a lot". Its main feature is the worlds largest sand timer, which I will show next.

Nima Sand Museum.

I visited at the end of my third day walking the Iwami 33 Kannon pilgrimage. Day 4 would see me heading up from Nima into Iwami Ginzan.


Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Takuno to Nima

Takuno to Nima

Takuno is a small fishing port that I visited late on the third day of my walk along the Iwami Kannon Pilgrimage, my local Kannon pilgrimage here in the western half of Shimane. I had stopped in at Hateiji temple, number 5 on the pilgrimage, and also the Hachman Shrine next door to it. Before leaving I went to the small harbour to check out once again the intriguing shrine on the small offshore islets connected to the myth of Susano.

Takunoi had been a Kitamaebune port, a safe haven for trade ships to stop, and so was a little wealthier due to the business of lodging sailors and also with the establishment of some merchants, and this shows in the remaining examples of old buildings, many of which are empty and abandoned, like much of rural Jaoan.

On my way out of town I saw a small grove of trees and was surprised to find a largem gnarly tree with two trunks that had been marked as sacred by the addition of shimenawa. There was no signboard and nobody around to ask so the story of the place remains a mystery to me.

After a few hundred meters and passing a couple of small rock coves I arrive at the beach at Nima.

Here I discovered one of the numerous breeding grounds of the infamous Japanese tetrapod. Tetrapods must outnumber the people in Jaan many times over. Ubiquitous is truly the only word. Why it is that these strange creatures grow here so much more than in the rest of the world must be related to Japan's unique love of nature.

This unusual and whimsical sign warns to be on the lookout for the smuggling of nefarious people as well as contraband, and also to generally watch out for marine safety.

Small fish drying is not anynusual sight in the many small coastal communities. These are a San-in specialty, Nigisu, Deep Sea Smelt. I suspect these will find their way to some incredibly over-priced omiyage outlet.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Sand Museum Revisited


While walking the Iwami 33 Kannon Pilgrimage I was able to revisit many places I had been before. There were of course some new things, like the new draincover at Nima.


The design shows a woman playing a Koto, a reference to the "singing" sands of nearby Kotogahama Beach.

Singing is a bit of a stretch!.... as you walk on the sand it squeaks a little. Of course, if you are familiar with Japanese pop music you may realize that there is little distinction between squeaking and singing.


Also in the manhole design are the glass pyramids of Nima Sand Museum, the local museum built to showcase the sand.


Designed by Nima-born architect Shin Takamatsu, the largest pyramid houses the biggest sand-timer in the world.


When I was there in mid December the lower part of the timer was almost full. It takes a full year for all the sand to fall through. At midnight on December 31st the timer is ceremoniously rotated 180 degrees to begin the cycle again.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Nima Sand Museum (inside)

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The centrepiece of Nima's sand museum is the largest sandtimer/hourglass in the world, 6 metres in height amd 1 metre wide, it contains more than 1 ton of sand that takes a year to flow through the narrow gap.

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Every New Years Eve the timer is lowered from its position high up in the main glass pyramid of the museum and invited guests turn it 180 degrees to begin a new year.

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Other than the sandtimer there is not actually a lot to see at the museum...... there are a few artworks using sand, and a collection of sands from around Japan, but not much else.

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The outside of the museum, designed by local architect Shin Takamatsu, is more interesting.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Nima Sand Museum (outside)

Nima Sand Museum

Driving along Route 9 as it passes through the town of Nima one is struck by a strange site;- 6 glass and steel pyramids rising out of the hillside. This is the Nima Sand Museum.

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Nearby is Kotogahama beach, known for its "singing sand".... actually it just squeaks when you walk on it, but that was the inspiration for the museum. The building was designed by Shin Takamatsu, who was born in Nima. The tallest pyramid was designed to be tall enough to be seen from his mother's gravesite.

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The main pyramid houses the world's largest sand timer, and other than that there is little to see inside the museum.

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However, the museum was featured in a hit TV drama, and that has provided the impetus for many to visit it.