Real Star Wars Planet In Japan: The Tottori Sand Dunes

2015-05-16 14.32.55Uuuutttiiiiiinnniiiii!

Oh, sorry, let me explain. If you ever go to the sand dunes in Japan’s Tottori prefecture and happen to be a huge Star Wars nerd, like me, the first thing out of your mouth is going to be that classic Jawa yell, “Uuuuutiiinnniiiii!”

The dunes themselves have existed for around 100,000 years, formed from the Sendai river carrying sediments from the nearby mountains into the Sea of Japan. Today, it honestly looks like Tatooine! The only thing missing are some landspeeders and whiney farm boys hoping for better things.

These are the only dunes in all of Japan and as a result, see almost 2 million tourists a year. Normally, this would mean the area is pretty commercialized or the sand is beaten down and unimpressive. However, there is no need to worry. The sand is constantly replenished through natural sea currents and winds that shift and pull the sand into various different shapes and sizes.

Sometimes, the sand gets so large, you can find 50 meter hills towering over you, 40 meter deep basins waiting to be explored, and even jagged tunnels or walk ways that formed overnight. It is an enormous work of art covering 16 kilometers from east to west and 30 square kilometers in total area.  It. Is. Stunning. The scenery of the sand emptying into the Sea of Japan makes it even more so. DSC_0276Due to this size, I recommend dedicating at least 3-4 hours for exploration, pictures and and the various attractions. Oh yes, there is more here than just sand.DSC_0305Like Tatooine and its weird lizard pack animals, no desert is complete without some local wildlife. Knowing this, the Tottori tourism office decided it would be a good idea to bring in some camels for some rides about the dunes. I mean, obviously camels and deserts go hand in hand right? Too bad they are introduced and not natural to Japan but I guess most tourists don’t care. For a few hundred yen you can go take a picture with them and try to cheer up those walking spit factories.

If this doesn’t interest you, how about the idea of paragliding, sandboarding, or even horse drawn carriages? Yeah, you’ll want to come here. Let me tell you how.

How to Get Here:

Osaka Route: From Osaka Station take a train towards Tottori Station via the Chizu Kyuko Line “Super Hakuto” (limited express), and from Tottori Station to Tottori-sakyu by bus.

Train ride – 2h 30 minutes                                              Bus ride – 20 minutes

Tokyo Route: Take a flight from Haneda Airport to Tottori Airport, and from the airport to Tottori Station by bus.

Flight – 1h 10 minutes                                                      Bus ride – 19 mintues


Categories: Asia, Japan, TottoriTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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