Tourists' 'sand graffiti' is ruining famous Japanese dunes, officials claim

Tourists are making like Banksy at the beach.

Japan’s only large sand dune network is increasingly being vandalized with “sand graffiti,” local officials say.

Graffiti has risen since being banned on the dunes in the coastal county of Tottori Prefecture in April 2009, with 3,334 incidents recorded in the decade since. Last year alone, there were 228 instances of sand graffiti reported, according to Japanese news outlet the Mainichi.

Tourists take a camel ride on Tottori sand dunes in Tottori, Japan.

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

THAI BEACH MADE FAMOUS IN LEONARDO DICAPRIO MOVIE TO REMAIN CLOSED TO VISITORS UNTIL 2021

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

In January, a tourist couple was made to clean up their 5-meter-by-25-meter dune message reading, “Happy Birthday Natalie.” In April, government officials had to clean a “Sebastian” sand scrawl and accompanying face drawing on the dunes.

FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK FOR MORE FOX LIFESTYLE NEWS

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

Some 184,000 foreign visitors stayed overnight in Tottori Prefecture in 2018, according to the Japan Tourism Agency, with as many as half visiting the dunes, according to the Mainichi.

Instagram is reportedly to blame for the rise. Many tourists visit to snap pictures of the photogenic “fumon” pattern in the dunes.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

This story was originally published by the New York Post.