OKINAWA, Japan - Hoshizuna no Hama is a small beach located on the northern tip of the remote Iriomote Island in Okinawa Prefecture, Japan.
According to Amusing Planet, Hoshizuna no Hama means 'star sand beach' because the grains of 'sand' found here are shaped like tiny stars.
The 'sand' is actually the exoskeletons of a tiny one-celled organism called Baclogypsina sphaerulata, that live among the sea grass.
Their exoskeleton (or shell) is shaped like a star with five or six pointed spines or arms that help them move from place to place and also store some of the diatoms that they feed upon.
The outer shell is made of calcium carbonate, and when they die, they leave their star shaped exoskeleton behind to be washed up on the beaches in enormous numbers.
One reason they are so plenty on beaches in the Indo Pacific Ocean is that they prefer shallow waters, often using sea algae to anchor themselves.
The locals have a different story. According to them, the star shells are the tiny offspring of the Southern Cross and the North Star.
These children of the stars were born in the ocean just of Okinawa, but were killed by a giant serpent, and their tiny skeletons are all that remains.