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Star Sand Beach (Hoshizuna-no-Hama) in Japan

The tiny beach on Takenomi island is really one of a kind

Best time: June–November

Star Sand Beach (Hoshizuna-no-Hama)
Star Sand Beach (Hoshizuna-no-Hama)

Okinawa is famous for its great beaches. But there is a really special beach called Hoshizuna-no-Hama, located on the northern tip of Taketomi-Jima Island. Its name translates to Star Sand Beach. If you look closely at the sand, you may notice that the sand is made of tiny stars. These small stars are actually exoskeletons of protists called Baclogypsina Sphaerulata. When the protists die, their exoskeletons form the star-shaped sands.

Tiny creatures, just a millimetre in size, live in the sea grass at the bottom and belong to the family of Calcalinidae. The pointed shape allows them to move from one place to another. You can see most of these star creatures after a typhoon. Typhoon season in Okinawa runs from June to November.

Only a few places on Earth are known to have such a curious phenomenon—there are two beaches on Taketomi and a few beaches on the neighbouring islands of Iriomote and Hatoma. Taketomi Island is part of the Iriomote-Ishigaki National Park and boasts great views and lush nature.

Practical info

When is the best time to view the sand on Hoshizuna-no-Hama?

The star-shaped sand on Hoshizuna-no-Hama Beach can be viewed from June to November when typhoons hit Okinawa. During this time, most sand is brought in through the waves of the sea. It's a rare and remarkable phenomenon to see tiny stars that make up the sand. However, typhoons can cause harm, and as a result, some services may be closed. Show more

What is the location of Hoshizuna-no-Hama beach?

Hoshizuna-no-Hama Beach lies on the northern tip of Taketomi Island, which is situated in the Iriomote-Ishigaki National Park, Okinawa, Japan. The beach is one of two locations on Taketomi Island that boasts star-shaped sand made from Baclogypsina Sphaerulata, tiny creatures. One needs to take a ferry to the island from Ishigaki Island, and it's just a 10-minute walk from the port to the beach. Show more

What makes up the star-shaped sands on Hoshizuna-no-Hama beach?

The star-shaped sand on Hoshizuna-no-Hama Beach comprises microscopic Baclogypsina Sphaerulata marine protozoa exoskeletons. When these creatures die, their shells wash onto the shore. Consequently, the sea water and the waves' movement break the shells into minuscule grains of star-shaped sand. The grains are white or light yellow in colour and can measure about 0.3 millimetres across. The pointed shape helps the creatures living among them move around. Show more

What other beaches in Japan have star-shaped sands?

In the Okinawa Prefecture, other shores that offer star-shaped sand perspectives include Kaiji Beach and Kaiji-Hama Beach on Iriomote Island and Hatoma Beach and Hatoma-Hama Beach on Hatoma Island. Nevertheless, Hoshizuna-no-Hama Beach is the most renowned attraction of its kind due to the sheer amount of star-shaped sand on its banks. Show more

What other points of interest are there on Taketomi Island?

Taketomi Island captivates tourists due to well-preserved traditional Ryukyu style houses with red-tiled roofs and white-sand beaches. The Island is recognised as a Cultural Property Preservation District featuring public buildings, government structures, and traditional houses. Indeed, such facilities date back to late 19th to early 20th century. Tourists can relish the island's unique landscape by renting a bicycle or opting for a water buffalo cart ride, snorkelling, or diving expedition. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin