The Tottori Sand Dunes are the biggest tourist attraction in Tottori and the defining image of the prefecture for anyone in Japan. This unique landform is only found in Tottori and a must see when visiting.
Part of the local protected Geopark, Tottori Sand Dunes next to Tottori City is Japan’s largest sand dunes. It is nearly 2km (1.2mi) wide in parts and is a 16km (10mi) stretch of dunes along the Sea of Japan coastline. Created from the runoff of the local Sendaigawa River and the ocean waves, this landform is in stark contrast to the many rocky and forested areas nearby.
Tottori Sand Dunes has a few things to see and do depending on the season (though many may not be accessible for all given the nature of the activities). First is sightseeing at the sand dunes and adjacent beach, the rolling hills and cascading waves feel as if you’ve been transported to a desert island. Even those in a wheelchair can enjoy this by borrowing a specially designed wheelchair made to tread sand. If you don’t want to walk around, maybe a Camel ride for you and a partner across part of the dunes may be more your style. Or, for those who want a bit more excitement, you can try your hand at some paragliding or sandboarding (like snowboarding, although in winter time it may be both!) down one of Tottori Sand Dunes larger hills (some are as high as 50m/164ft tall). Luckily the soft sand makes a great cushion if you fall but be safe in whatever you decide to do here.
Be sure to check out the nearby Tottori Sand Dunes Park Service Center. The service center has exhibits on the history of the sand dunes and their unique flora and fauna. Admission to the Service Center is free. Hours of operation is from 8:30 until 17:30, Admission ends 30 minutes before closing.
Camel rides are 1,500-yen for a single rider, 2,600-yen for two. Hours of operation is from 9:30 until 16:00 (March-November), and from 10:00 until 16:00 (December-February).
It is possible to visit the dunes in the rain; however foul weather will close-down some activities. It is highly recommended to visit on a clear day.
Tottori Sand Dunes is in Tottori City, Tottori Prefecture. It may be best to access it by starting at the Tottori Sand Dunes Park Service Center, the closest station to it is Tottori Station. Accessible taxis are readily available at the station. Accessible parking is available by the service center.
Tottori Sand Dunes Park Service Center offers free rentals of two beach wheelchairs for use on the sand dunes. While the extra large tires prevent the wheelchair from sinking in the sand, the dunes have steep inclines and it may be difficult for one person to push the wheelchair alone. Straps are provided for pulling the wheelchair back up the dunes.
A large ramp leads from the Tottori Sand Dunes Park Service Center to the dunes with a very gentle incline.
The Tottori Sand Dunes Park Service Center has an elevator and the exhibits are easy to explore in a wheelchair.
There is a rest area next to the main building and in the main lobby as well.
With the exception of warning blocks at stairways, no tactile blocks are available inside the building. A number of exhibits are tactile in nature. Seeing-eye dogs are allowed in both the building and on the sand dunes.
There is a wheelchair accessible toilet available in the parking lot. While there is no backrest on the toilet, the washroom has ostomate facilities and an adult-sized change table.
Camel rides require climbing a small set of steps / stool to get onto the camel.
Best visited on a clear cool day, Tottori Sand Dunes is like a desert island beach getaway located off the Sea of Japan. While studied and protected, it is also a popular (and somewhat accessible) tourist spot to visit in Tottori. It is recommended for those who love the beach and sand.
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