Graffiti outlawed on Tottori dunes

by Reiji Yoshida

In a bid to stop tourists from defacing the Tottori Sand Dunes, the Tottori Prefectural Assembly enacted an ordinance Tuesday prohibiting the drawing of patterns and other “annoying acts” that take away from its natural beauty.

The giant man-made patterns have been a constant headache for the local tourist industry. Some are messages, while others are just simple pictures.

The dunes cover an area measuring 16 km by 2 km along the Sea of Japan coast. They are the largest in Japan and one of the prefecture’s top attractions.

Under the ordinance, which goes into affect April 1, drawing letters 10 sq. meters or larger in scale will be prohibited and punishable by a fine of as much as ¥50,000.

Littering and fireworks will also be prohibited.

From July to September, 178 etchings were found on the dunes, said Makoto Hasegawa, the prefectural official in charge of the problem.

“Local people are trying to take good care of the dune. For example, about 3,000 people clean up the dune twice a year,” Hasegawa said in a telephone interview.

“But some tourists get disappointed when they see the graffiti.”