Located at the western edge of Japan’s main island of Honshu lies Tottori, a fairly long and narrow prefecture running some 120 km east to west and 50 km north to south. The climate is temperate, with four distinct seasons; weather is relatively fine from spring to autumn, with some snow in winter. Various delicious local food products are produced in Tottori as it is blessed with an abundance of natural resources.
It is a hidden gem surrounded by natural wonders and interesting attractions:
Tottori Sand Dunes
Deemed the largest sand dunes in Japan, stretching 16km from the east to west and 2km from the north to south. Ocean currents and prevailing winds off the Sea of Japan (East Sea) help preserve and collect the sand brought down as sediments from the Chugoku Mountains by the Sendai River. Experience the best sceneries of the dunes with a tour around the desert via camel or donkey. You can also choose to get a bird’s eye view of the dunes through paragliding due to the strong prevailing winds off the Sea of Japan that makes it perfect for this mini adventure.
Close to the sand dunes is the small town of Iwami. Here lies Uradome Coast, a crescent-shaped beach surrounded by soft, fine sand and crystal-clear waters. Unique, layered rocks jut out of the ocean at various sharp angles, creating numerous small islands and cliffs behind the West of Uradome’s beach. Bask in the stunning scenery of Uradome Coast, which is also part of the larger San’in Kaigan National Park and catch unparalleled views of caves, cliffs and weathered.
Shirakabe Dozogun has a lot of buildings established in the Edo and Meiji periods that carry the remnants of olden times. The area has been selected as a national important preservation district for groups of traditional buildings.
Misasa Hot Spring
Misasa Onsen is one of the world’s famous radioactive hot springs containing a high radon concentration. Exposure to radon is seen to improve the metabolism and boost the body’s immunity and natural healing power. Additionally, it also enhances the body’s antioxidant function, which supports anti-aging and prevention of lifestyle-related diseases. This mineral-rich spring water is also good for drinking.
For hikers, Tottori is the perfect place. Mount Daisen is also known as Hōki Fuji and the highest mountain in the Chugoku region with an impressive height of 1,729 meters above sea level. From the summit there are panoramic views of city and country: urban sprawl, green trees, rice fields and the sea. During winter, you can also enjoy skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing at any of the many ski resorts scattered around the area.
Tottori Hanakairo Flower Park
Tottori Hanakairo Flower Park is one of the largest flower parks in Japan. The park is about 50 hectares in area with a variety of seasonal flowers within a 50 meters flower dome, a flowerbed on water and a European garden. Night viewing of illuminated flowers, called “Moonlight Flower Garden”, is very popular. Moonlight Flower Garden is held on Saturday and Sunday from July to August, Christmas, and during summer vacation.
Tottori is also known as “Manga Kingdom Tottori”, a self-styled mecca for manga and anime fans. Even the airports are named after popular manga characters: Yonago Kitaro airport and Tottori Sand Dunes Conan airport. This is because two famous manga artists grew up in Tottori prefecture. Fans of Detective Conan can visit the Gosho Aoyama Manga Factory in Hokuei. If Gegege no Kitaro is more your style, head to Sakaiminato, Shigeru Mizuki’s hometown.