Tottori sand dunes -鳥取砂丘
While talking about Tottori, sand dunes come to mind. At least about Japanese people. Well, this time we are going to this small desert of Japan (yes, Japan has got an, even if little, desert, didn’t you know?)!
What’s special about Tottori sand dunes?
As you can understand by the name, we are talking about small mountains made of sand: the proximity of the sea gives the feeling of being somewhere in Africa.
Tottori dunes are located in San-in-Kai National Park, and they stretch for 6 km. The biggest dune is 2 km wide and 50 meters high. The close Sendai river and the sea current carry the sand here.
You can even visit this place by riding a camel (of course, not native to this place, as camels are not Japanese animals)! The price for riding this exotic animal is 1.800 yen for a person, 3.000 yen for two people.
How to get to Tottori sand dunes
Tottori sand dunes are close to Tottori city, therefore the first thing to do is getting there. The access to the San’in coast (where Tottori lies) is not very easy.
From Tōkyō‘s Haneda airport, reaching Tottori airport is fast, but buying a ticket not in advance won’t be convenient (30.000 yen, one way). Booking in advance will make the prices drop from 30.000 to 20.000 yen (one way). From Tottori airport, a bus can take you into town in about 20 minutes, and the ticket costs 450 yen.
If you’re travelling by train, use the Shinkansen to reach Himeji station from Shin-Ōsaka station. Here, get on the express limited train “Super Hakuto“, and you will reach Tottori station in about 6 hours (including the journey on Shinkansen from Tokyo). The whole journey costs 17.000 yen.
You can also take “Camel-gō” overnight bus from Tōkyō’s Shinagawa Bus Terminal. The price of the journey is 10.200 yen. More information here: http://tinyurl.com/jw47u7h
From Tottori station, get on the bus heading to”Tottori sakyū”, leaving from platform 0 in front of the station. Get off at the last stop, you can’t go wrong. The ticket costs 360 yen, the journey takes about 20 minutes, and there is one bus per hour.
In the week-end you can take the”Kirinjishi Loop Bus“, the ticket’s price is 300 yen.
My impression of Tottori sand dunes
I reached the Tottori sand dunes by car, departing from Okayama area. The parking is close to the area, so it was easy to access the spot.
Seeing the sand suddenly after passing through Chūgoku’s deep forests was really impressive. Even if Tottori dunes are in fact a tiny desert, compared to the real ones of the other continents, the view impact is impressive. In the parking there is a simple site map, and not far from the entry you are already walking on the sand: it seems the sand version of Sapporo snow festival (of which we will talk in another post)!
In 15 minutes walking you can reach the highest dune, and it is easy to walk by not wearing shoes: be careful, the sand temperature in summer is high, you might have your feet burnt in 10 minutes. Dig the surface to find fresh or wear sandals.
From the dunes, if you look south you can see some greenish landmark, maybe recalling a desert oasis. If you look to the sea (northern direction), you only see the desert. Once you are on the highest dune’s top, the sand’s yellow and the sky’s blue get wonderfully together, and when the weather is good, also the Sea of Japan’s colors are really amazing.
Besides the dunes, Tottori offers other tourist spots: check the Kannon-in and Tottori castle’s ruins!