Sculptors, fans converge on Kagoshima sand festival

Kyodo

An annual sand art festival opened Thursday on a beach in Kagoshima Prefecture, featuring an array of animal-shaped creations.

An elephant, a whale and a unicorn are among around 100 sculptures produced by artists from Japan and abroad for the 11-day event on Fukiagehama beach in the city of Minamisatsuma on the East China Sea. The largest measures 14 meters high and 10 meters wide.

Artists from as far away as the United States and the Netherlands spent up to two weeks making the sculptures with only sand and water. They sprayed the creations with glue so they wouldn’t dry out and collapse.

The sculptures will be illuminated at night, with fireworks shows nightly through Monday.

Organizers expect some 200,000 visitors for the event, which runs through May 12.

The Minamisatsuma government, Minaminihon Broadcasting Co. and the Minami-Nippon Shimbun jointly organize the festival with groups of Japanese and foreign sand sculptors.