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Day Trip Ideas: Tottori Sand Dunes

08,Sep 2015 Day Trip Ideas

Tottori is the capital city of Tottori Prefecture. Bordered by the sea of Japan to its north, some of its touristic highlights include great beaches, beautiful sea views, and fantastically fresh seafood; however, it is best known for the Tottori Sand Dunes, Japan’s only large dune system.


Having existed for over 100,000 years, standing on any part of the dunes and looking around at the expanse of sand stretching as far as the eye can see is an experience not to be missed if you visit Tottori. In the blink of an eye, people viewed from a distance seem to disappear into the sand as their silhouettes grow smaller as they get further. The wind carries the scent of the ocean on fresh breaths of breeze. One has to wonder in amazement at how the dunes came to be; how they achieved such a size and continue to exist to this day, attracting millions of awed tourists from Japan and other countries every year.


The shape of the sand dunes are constantly changing; subject to the temperament of the wind. On certain days, it is possible to see sights such as sand rippling down hills like an avalanche; beautiful patterns formed in the sand by the wind (wind ripples), and more. The visual treasures the sand dunes have to offer can be explored on foot; sometimes it is also possible to explore by horse-drawn carriage, or on the back of a camel.


Besides the sand dunes, Tottori is also home to the Tottori Sand Museum, which aims to offer visitors the chance to observe objects of transient beauty in the form of sand sculptures painstakingly crafted  by international sand sculptors. With its exhibitions usually organised around the theme of different countries of the world, one is also able to travel around the world by admiring the different sand sculptures.


Sand is, of course, not the only thing Tottori has to offer. The region is rich with history, and Tottori is home to many places of great significance. For example, the Jinpukaku Mansion, built in French Renaissance style to accommodate Emperor Taisho when he visited the Sanin Region in 1907, and the ruins of Tottori Castle lying behind it; the Ikeda Clan Family Graveyard, with its Edo-style graves marking the resting places of generations of feudal lords of the region; the Inaba-Manyo museum, built to commemorate the compiler of the Manyoshu, Japan’s most famous collection of poems – all this and more would be of interest to those with a taste for Japanese cultural history. There are also sites of picturesque nature, such as the gardens of Kannon-in, Koyama pond, Amedaki Falls, and more.


A non-exhaustive list of places of interest and things that can be done in Tottori can be found here. From Kifu no Sato, it takes 1.5 hours to drive to Tottori, and about 3 hours by public transport. If you would like more information, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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