Boasting the largest sand dunes in Japan, the lively coastal city of Tottori lies amidst the rolling hills of the Chūgoku region. It was once ruled by the mighty Ikeda Clan, with the ruined Tottori Castle and atmospheric gardens of the Kannon-in temple both lasting legacies of their reign.
Things to do
Explore the constantly-changing landscapes of the Tottori Sand Dunes, which sprawl along the coast within Sanin Kaigan National Park. Embark on a camel ride or horse-drawn cart excursion to the top of the dunes, test your skills at sand boarding or get a bird’s-eye view while paragliding.
A short walk from the dunes lies the Sand Museum where large-scale sand sculptures by global artists are exhibited. A particular country or region of the world is selected as the theme each year, resulting in highly creative and photogenic natural works of art.
Spend an afternoon wandering through the gardens of Kannon-in temple, which was constructed during the Edo Period by the ruling Ikeda Family. It belongs to the Tendai Sect of Japanese Buddhism and features a tranquil pond with islands that depict a crane and a turtle, the symbols of longevity and health.
Discover the power and influence of the Ikeda Clan while exploring the 16th-century stone walls of the Tottori Castle. Soak up the commanding city views from the castle courtyards and visit the small museum within the European-style Jinpukaku building at the base of the castle.
Tottori Airport is located around 20 minutes’ bus ride from Tottori’s city centre or you can make the six-hour train journey from Tokyo. Most of the city’s attractions are within walking distance of the main train station, while loop buses connect to the Tottori Sand Dunes and castle ruins.
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