tottori sand dunes

japan tottori sand dunes

This morning I’m up at 5:00 am. At 7:30 I get on the shinkansen to Okayama. After several changes and a journey of nearly six hours I arrive at Tottori Station. This is a charming little town, as we can find so many in Japan: nothing special to note. From the station I take the bus at bus stop number “0” to the dunes. Arrived at the stop of the observatory, I get off, enter the nearby building and climb to the top floor following the arrows saying “panoramic observatory”. In front of me huge sand dunes literally flow into the sea. The dunes are covered with tourists converging like ants to the sea. Stretching on more than 30km² the dunes resembles the desert.
The dunes were created by sediment deposits carried from the Chugoku Mountains by the Sendai River into the Sea of Japan. Sea currents and wind help bring the sand from the bottom up onto the shore, where the wind constantly rearranges their shape. The dunes have existed for over 100,000 years.
After taking a few pictures, I leave the observatory to take a small chairlift, like those found in the winter sports resorts. After a few minutes I arrive at the entrance of the dunes. To my left, camels – emerged from nowhere – make small rounds carrying tourists and take the pause for a souvenir photography. I counted about ten of them. All this is normal: in Japan everything is possible! After descending a gentle slope and have passed on the left a small stretch of short green grass, I find myself facing a mountain of sand that such a wall stands in front of me. The slope is steep and it takes me a few minutes to reach the top. Several times I stop to catch my breath taking care not to lose balance. Standing on the crest of the dune, what first strikes me is the sound of waves. The sound hit the dune and is amplified. The waves below are quite large and the water is of a beautiful blue-green color. There is almost no wind which makes it a very pleasant experience. On the dune slopes, a group of teenagers are paragliding. On my right, a small island near the coast add beauty to this perfect landscape. The sky is a little cloudy. I sit on the golden sand and enjoying the sweetness of the day, I read for a long time. On my way back, for fun, I run down the steep slope. Halfway, the clouds suddenly give way to bright sunlight that strikes the sand waves. Each small wave of sand casts a shadow over its neighbor and my shadow stretches for about ten meters: magical moment. I take the bus at the exit of the dunes to return to the station.

tottori sand dunes 2

tottori sand dunes 3

tottori sand dunes 4

tottori sand dunes 5

MAP: locate “JAPAN TOTTORI SAND DUNES” on the planet