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Sports, Art & Adventure at the Tottori Sand Dunes

  • One of Tottori’s main attractions is its mini desert, the Tottori Sand Dunes, located inside the Sanin Kaigan National Park. Situated just outside the heart of the city, the dunes stretch along the Sea of Japan spanning around 16 kilometers long and two kilometers wide with some of the highest points towering at roughly 50-meters-high. Naturally crafted over thousands of years, the dunes are the work of the Sendaigawa River, a body of which was washed out to sea, then later re-deposited along the coast. Today this pocket of Tottori has become a hotbed of sand sports and exploration as tourists flock to the area to ride camels, try sand boarding, and further explore this strange natural phenomenon.

    Sports, Art & Adventure at the Tottori Sand Dunes

    Sports, Art & Adventure at the Tottori Sand Dunes

    One of the best ways to get a proper view of the area is by riding the Tottori chairlift to the observation deck of the Sakyu Center. From there you can check out the dramatic scenery and get a comprehensive view of just what’s on offer across the fields of sand below. The chairlift is a five-minute low altitude ride from the dunes and costs 300 yen return for adults and 200 yen return for children.

    Sports, Art & Adventure at the Tottori Sand Dunes

    Sports, Art & Adventure at the Tottori Sand Dunes

    From the top of the observation deck you’ll see lots of adventurous visitors trying their hand at paragliding and more commonly sand boarding, which is essentially the sand version of snowboarding. Stores dotted along the dunes offer rental equipment and lessons. The 30-degree slopes and soft sand mean that even if you’re a beginner it’s not too scary a sport to tackle. Check out the Tottori Sakyu Sand Board School to sign up for a two-hour lesson.

    Sports, Art & Adventure at the Tottori Sand Dunes

    Sports, Art & Adventure at the Tottori Sand Dunes

    If a board isn’t really your style, then get on two wheels. To get a better view of the area, it’s worth considering signing up for a Fat Bike Tour offered by the team at Trail On. A fat bike is a sandy terrain bike with thick (fat) wheels used for battling the slippery sand of the dunes. The only fat biking company in Japan, Trail On’s tour is an undeniably unique way to get around Tottori and immerse yourself in the hidden pockets of the area. The company offers two types of courses and the tours take around two hours, running from 9:30am until 5pm or 6pm depending on the day.

    Sports, Art & Adventure at the Tottori Sand Dunes

    Sports, Art & Adventure at the Tottori Sand Dunes

    Once you’re done tearing up the hills, be sure to make a stop off at the souvenir shops and restaurants located just across from the dunes. Here you can rest and refuel, grab something to eat, and pick up some local Tottori omiyage. A number of the stores also offer free rubber boot rental, which allows you to explore the dunes on foot without having to deal with sand filled shoes.

    Sports, Art & Adventure at the Tottori Sand Dunes

    Sports, Art & Adventure at the Tottori Sand Dunes

    Pay a visit to The Sand Museum to experience one of Tottori’s most unique attractions. Opening in 2006, the museum is home to a rotating exhibit of sculptures all carefully crafted out of sand. Founded by world-renowned sand sculpture champion Katsuhiko Chaen, the museum is Japan's only indoor museum actively exhibiting sculptures made from sand featuring works based on different locations from around the world. The sand sculptures have a very limited life span which results in a quick turnaround of exhibits, so no matter what time you go you’re sure to see something unique.

    To get to the sand dunes from Tottori Station, take the hourly bus bound for the Tottori Sakyu and hop off at the last stop. The trip takes 20 minutes and costs 370 yen each way. If you miss the bus, taxis rides from Tottori Station are about twenty minutes and will cost a little over 2,000 yen.

    Tottori Sand Dunes
    Address
    Tottori Pref. Tottorishi Fukubechouyuyama
    Phone
    Sanin Kaigan National Park Uradome Coast Island Cruise
    rating 52 Reviews
    Address
    Tottori Pref. Iwamiguniwamichou Otani 2182
    Phone
    0857731212
    Sakyu Center (Sand Dune Center) Miharashi no Oka
    rating 12 Reviews
    Address
    Tottori Pref. Tottorishi Fukubechouyuyama 2083
    Phone
    0857222111
    Sandboarding
    Address
    Tottori Pref. Tottorishi Shimoajino 302-14
    Phone
    0857301991
  • Tottori Sand Dunes Sand Museum
    rating 521 Reviews
    Address
    Tottori Pref. Tottorishi Fukubechouyuyama 2083-17
    Phone
    0857202231
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