Tottori City

Tottori City, the capital of Tottori Prefecture, is in western Japan along the coast of the Sea of Japan. Tottori is most famous for its sand dunes, the largest in Japan, which cover over 30 square kilometres of coast to the north of the city centre. Tottori may be one of Japan’s smallest and least populated prefectures, but its impressive nature, mouthwatering food, and cultural attractions more than compensate, and Tottori City serves as a perfect entry point to the region.

Group Attractions

  • Attractions
  • Dining
  • Experience
  • Omiyage

Sand Dunes (Tottori Sakyu)

The Tottori Sand Dunes are the largest sand dunes in Japan and Tottori's most famous tourist attraction. Located just outside the city centre, they span roughly 16 kilometres of coast along the Sea of Japan and are up to two kilometres wide and 50 meters high. They have existed for over 100,000 years. The Sendai River carries sediment from the nearby Chugoku Mountains that eventually washes out into the Sea of Japan. Strong sea currents and winds work together to push these sediments back onto the shore to form the sand dunes. Consider taking a leisurely ride on one of the dunes' iconic camels, or board the chairlift to the Sakyu Center's observation deck for the best view of the coast. The more adventurous might want to try paragliding or sandboarding.

Activities: Photo stop Fee: None Time required: 45 minutes-1 hour

Tottori Castle Ruins (Kyusho Park)

Tottori Castle was originally built in 1532 and served as the regional centre of power during Japan's era of warring states. The Tottori Castle Ruins are all that remain now, with only the castle's stone walls and a single wooden gate still standing. Visitors may climb up the castle courtyards to an observation point that offers a commanding view over Tottori City. It is part of Kyusho Park and home to hundreds of cherry trees, including both the Yoshino and Sato varieties, the park is an incredible spot for cherry blossoming viewing in Tottori. Located in the area is Jinpukaku, the white wooden building features open verandas, brick fireplaces and a beautiful wooden spiral staircase that has become a key feature of its architecture. (Image via Matcha JP)

Activities: Photo stop Fee: JPY 150 (Jinpukaku) Time required: 45 minutes-1 hour

Kannon-in Temple

Kannon-in is an Edo-period temple located in the East of Tottori City. It is affiliated with Japanese Tendai Buddhism and well known for its Japanese garden, which consists of a large pond surrounded by lawn and tall maple and pine trees. The pond includes small islands representing a crane and a turtle, symbols of longevity and health, which are commonly found in Japanese gardens. Visitors are served matcha tea and sweets as they view the garden from the temple building. (Image via Japan Guide)

Activities: Temple visit, Photo stop Fee: JPY 550 (includes tea service) Time required: 45 minutes-1 hour

Hakuto Shrine

Enshrined here is the spirit of a rabbit, the White Rabbit of Inaba, the subject of a famous myth. All around the shrine and at other spots in the Tottori area you will see small statues of a rabbit, as Inaba was the name of the province that became Tottori Prefecture. In what is considered Japan’s first love story, the White Rabbit was the matchmaker for King Ookuni and Princess Hachigami, therefore Hakuto Shrine has gained a reputation for matchmaking. In front of the shrine is the Hakuto seashore, a popular beach for swimmers and surfers, with white sand and views towards the famous Tottori sand dunes. It is also known as a great sunset viewing spot. A large road station is also here with shops and restaurants. (Image via Gaijin Pot)

Activities: Shrine visit, Photo stop Fee: None Time required: 45 minutes-1 hour

Shikano Castle Ruins

The former site of Shikano Castle and the charming town that surrounds it has a long and understated history. Kamei Korenori, Lord of Shikano Castle renowned as a skilled negotiator with a strong interest in foreign trade. He fought in the invasion of Korea and facilitated trade with Siam, now Thailand. Inspired by his dealings with foreign lands, he modernized his castle and made improvements to the surrounding town. The streets of this former castle town are eye-catching and well-kept. (Image via City Tottori)

Activities: Photo stop Fee: None Time required: 45 minutes-1 hour

Nearby Areas

The 900m-high Mount Mitoku in Misasa Town, Tottori Prefecture is home to Sanbutsuji. There are several temple halls at the base of the mountain, but the main attraction is Nageiredo Hall. Sitting on a series of wooden poles clinging onto the rocky mountain wall at an elevation of 500m, this is a unique structure. With the curvatures of its roof and the structure of its pillars, it excels as a beautiful work of architecture, and it has also been designated as a National Treasure. Legend says “En-no-Gyoja”, the founder of the ascetic training practice called Shugendo, tossed the hall from the base of the mountain and it landed in its current resting place.

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