How long does it take for 1 ton of sand to fall through an aperture 0.85mm wide?
Exactly one year!
At least according to what is believed to be the largest hourglass-sandtimer in the world, located in the Nima Sand Museum in Nima, Shimane.
Every December 31st at midnight the huge timer, measuring 5 metres in height with a diameter of 1 meter, is ceremonially turned over to begin marking time for the next year.
Opened in 1991, the Sand Museum was built because the local mayor thought that the sand at a nearby beach, Kotogahama, which squeaked and "sang" when walked on, was worthy of being a tourist attraction. Other than the giant sandtimer, the museum has a handful of artworks that utilize sand, but like many attractions in Japan, the architecture is far more interesting that what is housed inside.
The Sand Museum is built into the side of the hill, and is topped by 6 glass and steel pyramids, the largest of which houses the Sandtimer.
The Sand Museum was never a great draw, and so a large amusement and play area for kids was built behind it, but nowadays it has become more popular since the museum was featured in a hit TV drama, Sunadokei.
More photos of around Nima Sand Museum
The museum is a 5 minute walk from JR Nima station on the San-in line.
Entrance is 700 yen for adults, 350 yen for kids.
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Saturday, December 15, 2007