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Tourists’ is ‘sand graffiti’ is the ruin of the famous Japanese dunes, officials claim

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Tourists like Banksy on the beach.

Japan is the only major sand dune network is increasingly destroyed with “sand graffiti,” local officials say.

Graffiti has increased since it was prohibited on the dunes at the coast of the county of the Prefecture of Tottori in April 2009, with 3,334 incidents recorded in the ten years since. Last year alone, there were 228 instances of sand graffiti reported, according to the Japanese news outlet the Mainichi.

Tourists take a camel ride on the Tottori sand dunes in Tottori, Japan.
(Getty)

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But instead of using paint for their tags, visitors are simply carving notes in the sand.

In January, a tourist couple was to clean of their 5-meter-by-25-meter dune message read, “Happy Birthday, Natalie.” In April, the government had to clean a “Sebastian” sand scribble and accompanying face signs on the dunes.

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Littering and fireworks are prohibited, and fines of up to 50,000 yen ($452).

Some 184,000 foreign visitors stayed overnight in the Prefecture of Tottori in 2018, according to the japanese Agency for Tourism, with as much as half of a visit to the dunes, according to the Mainichi.

Instagram is reportedly the fault of the increase. Many tourists snap photos of the photogenic “fumon” pattern in the dunes.

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This story was originally published by the New York Post.

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