Food and Activities on Top of the Superb Views! A Thorough Guide to the Tottori Sand Dunes
The Tottori Sand Dunes (“sakyu” in Japanese) is a famous sightseeing spot that best represents Tottori. Boasting Japan's largest sand dunes, it is a place where you can enjoy magnificent scenery that changes every season, as well as engage in various activities and taste delicious food. Here is a guide on the Tottori Sand Dunes that you must put on your bucket list!
Have Fun at the Tottori Sand Dunes
The Tottori Sand Dunes are coastal sand dunes located along the coast of the Sea of Japan in Tottori City. Measuring 16km east to west and 2km north to south, these sand dunes go as high as 47m, thereby making them the tallest in Japan. Their approximately 146ha center is a famous spot that has been designated as a national natural treasure. And there are many different ways to enjoy these sand dunes.
1. Ride a Camel
If you want a unique experience in these sand dunes, then avail of the camel riding experience offered by Rakudaya. You can walk around the sand dunes while sitting on the back of a real camel, so this activity has become very popular as an activity that is rare even in Japan. You can also take souvenir photos with the cute camels.
Photography fee: Starts at 100 JPY (incl. tax)
Ride experience: Starts at 1,300 JPY (incl. tax)
2. Play Outdoors
The Tottori Sand Dunes are famous as a spot for paragliding. There are no obstructions in the sand dunes, so even beginners will find it easy to take flight. There are many other sports that make use of the sand dunes here, such as sandboarding that is similar to snowboarding, and fat biking wherein you cross the sand dunes on a bicycle with ultra-thick tires.
3. Explore in a Horse-drawn Carriage
It would be quite difficult to walk around these vast sand dunes. So to make it easier, you might want to try riding in a horse-drawn carriage. For approximately 15 minutes in a horse-drawn carriage, a guide will talk about basic information and the appealing aspects of the Tottori Sand Dunes.
Price: Adult: 1,000 JPY, Child (up to elementary school age): 600 JPY
4. Go for a Dip in the Ocean
Tottori Sand Dunes face the Sea of Japan, so you can enjoy swimming in the ocean during summer. It is a beach that is popular for its crystal-clear seawater and silky sand, and there are no rocky areas, so it’s safe even for kids.
5. Enjoy the Scenery
The Tottori Sand Dunes offer the interweaving of gorgeous views – fumon (wind ripples on the sand) created by the wind and sand, and suribachi (literally means “mortar”) that resembles a cavity in the sand. If you go to the Uma no Se (horseback) dune, which is the highest point in these sand dunes, you will get to enjoy a panoramic view of the vast sand dunes and the beautiful Sea of Japan. The view of the setting sun in the Sea of Japan is also so magnificent that you might see tourists clapping their hands at the sunset.
6. Get on a Lift
The Tottori Sakyu Lift (Tottori Sand Dunes Chairlift) that connects the Tottori Sand Dunes and the Sakyu Center in about 4 minutes is also recommended. The Sakyu Center is perched on top of a small hill, and from the observation deck, you will enjoy an unobstructed view of all the sand dunes and the Sea of Japan.
Lift fee (round trip): Adult: 300 JPY, Child: 200 JPY, 4 years old and younger: Free
7. Take a Stroll
There are many spots around the sand dunes that are perfect for a stroll. The Tottori Sakyu Oasis Hiroba (sand dune field) is a multipurpose parking area that is near the swimming area, and it is the best place for a picnic. Meanwhile, at the Isaribi Hiroba, you can walk through the wooden promenade while gazing at the green pines glittering against the white sand.
Savor the Food!
The restaurants around the Tottori Sand Dunes are spots where you can enjoy dishes that incorporate local ingredients. Of all the restaurants there, the Tennen Bikei View Sky Lounge (Nature Pretty View Sky Lounge) is particularly recommended for its panoramic view of the sand dunes. Its famous Ika-don (squid rice bowl) (1,080 JPY (incl. tax)) is an exquisite dish that is so loaded with squid from the Sea of Japan that the rice underneath is barely visible. It goes really well with sakyu rakkyo (sweet-sour pickled Japanese leek), ago-ten (flying fish tempura) and other delicious flavors from Tottori.
Enjoy the Hot Springs, too!
Now after you are done sightseeing and exploring the sand dunes, freshen up by washing off the sand that has stuck to your body! Tottori is a goldmine of onsen (hot spring) areas, so there are many hot spring resorts that come highly recommended in this region, including the Iwai Onsen with a 1,300-year history and the Misasa Onsen that boasts the highest radon quantity in the world. Of these onsen spots, the Sakyu Onsen Fureai Kaikan (560 JPY for junior high school students and older guests, and 230 JPY for elementary school students (incl. tax)), about 4 minutes away from the Oasis Park by car, is an onsen that has hot spring water flowing from the Tottori Sand Dunes, and from its bathhouse with a view, you can marvel at the magnificent sight of the Sea of Japan.
Aside from the spots listed above, the area surrounding the sand dunes is packed with many other attractive spots such as the Sand Museum where sand sculptures are on display. Make sure to check them out!
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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