Tottori Sand Dunes - A Complete Guide To Japan's Unique Sand Dunes

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The Tottori Sand Dunes will have visitors feeling as if they are in a desert, or at the Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia. You can enjoy here a wide variety of activities that are unique to Tottori. In this article, we introduce them in detail.

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When they hear about Tottori prefecture, almost every Japanese person imagines the Tottori Sand Dunes (Sakyu). It is the largest sand dune area in Japan, and a very popular sightseeing spot.

The sand dunes may look like a desert. But the area's appearance changes from season to season, being covered in a blanket of snow in winter, and by a field of scallion flowers blooming in autumn.

It is a place worthy of a long visit, not just a spot to stop by for a quick look.

This article will show how to fully enjoy the Tottori Sand Dunes, which offer picturesque spots, scenery which changes with the seasons, and various activities.


1. Picturesque Spots among Tottori's Sand Dunes
2. When to Visit
3. Recommended Activities
4. Souvenirs
5. Places to Visit

Picturesque Spots among Tottori's Sand Dunes

The Tottori Sand Dunes spread on 16 kilometers from east to west, and 2.4 kilometers from north to south. The following are some of the picturesque spots in the area.

Umanose: A View of the Japan Sea


Photo courtesy of: Tottori Prefecture

The hill at the center of the sand dunes is called Umanose, as it resembles a horseback. From Umanose, which is 47 meters above sea level, visitors can enjoy the view of the Japan Sea and the surrounding mountains.

An Oasis


Photo courtesy of: Tottori Prefecture

The Oasis is a large pool which appears around Umanose. The water may be a meter deep in winter, or completely disappear in summer, as if it is a living creature. On a clear day, its surface reflects the blue sky, creating a magnificent sight.

Sand Patterns


Photo courtesy of: Tottori Prefecture

Sand patterns created by the wind can be seen early in the morning, when the visitors are yet to arrive.

When to Visit the Sand Dunes

The scenery changes at the sand dunes every season, and also during the day. The following are the best times for a visit.

Summer: The Isaribi Fires Glowing above the Sea


Photo courtesy of: Tottori Prefecture

The isaribi (*1) of the squid ships can be seen in the evenings, from July to October. The fantastic scene is worth a view.

*1 Isaribi: a fisherman's fire that lures the fish at night.

Autumn: The Carpet of Purple Scallion Flowers


Photo courtesy of: Tottori Prefecture

From late October to early November, carpets of purple scallion flowers can be seen on the east side of the sand dunes, along the route to Uradome Coast.

Winter - A Coat of Snow


Photo courtesy of: Tottori Prefecture

The sand dunes completely change in winter. The stark white landscape can be seen from late December to February.

Recommended Activities

Visitors can try the following activities at the sand dunes.

Camel Rides


Photo courtesy of: Tottori Prefecture

Although camel rides are rare in Japan, visitors can go on a leisurely stroll on a camel among the sand dunes.

Rakudaya, a souvenir shop, handles the rides. The fare is 1300 yen (including tax) for one person, and 2500 yen (including tax) for people riding in tandem with their children. A photograph with a camel only costs 100 yen.

Address: Tottori, Tottori, Fukube-cho, Yuyama 2164-449
Official Site: Rakudaya (Japanese)

Fat Bike Riding on the Mirror Beach

Tottori Sand Dunes - A Complete Guide To Japan's Unique Sand Dunes

Photo courtesy of: TRAIL ON

A fat bike is a bicycle with fat tires, suited for running on sand. Riding a fat bike in the vast sand dunes is a refreshing experience.

When the waves rush to the beach near the sand dunes, a "mirror beach" reflecting the sky appears. It is compared to the Uyuni Salt Flat in Bolivia, and a ride around this beach is a truly special experience.

For further information, please check the asoview official site.



Photo courtesy of: Tottori Prefecture

Visitors can enjoy a different view of the sand dunes altogether from a paraglider. Instructors will assist the flight, so even beginners and children can also have fun.

Some visitors get into paragliding after the experience at the sand dunes, so you might get hooked, too. For further information, check the asoview official site.

Sandboarding and Yoga

There's also sandboarding, which uses an equipment resembling a snowboard, and yoga events at the sand dunes too.

Activity Reservations: San'in Official Tourism Guide



After enjoying the great views and activities, don't forget to buy souvenirs.

There are various souvenir shops such as the Sakyu Kaikan, Tottori Sand Museum Shop and Sakyu Center, which handles unique novelty items related to the sand dunes.

The item in the photograph is the sand chocolate, which can be purchased at the Tottori Sand Museum Shop. It has a crunchy texture with a sesame flavor, and kinako (*2), which looks like sand, is sprinkled on top.

The other popular items are gelato made using Japanese pears, a special product of Tottori prefecture, and various products processed from scallions.

*2 Kinako: soybean flour.

Places to Visit

Tottori Sand Museum, the only museum in the world with exhibitions of sand sculptures, and Tottori Sakyu Kodomonokuni, which offers various attractions for children, are also located nearby.

There are so many appealing things to see and do at the Tottori Sand Dunes, so much that it is difficult to enjoy them all in a day. Read this article, and make your plan to make the most out of your visit.

To learn about the access to the sand dunes, please check the information below.

For more information please check the official website of Tottori Prefecture:

Please also check out our articles in the Tottori section.

Sponsored by Tottori Prefecture

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Tokyo, Japan

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