With only around 570,000 people, the entire population of Tottori Prefecture would hardly fill one ward of Tokyo! But what it lacks in terms of population, it makes up for in authenticity; this prefecture has preserved both its folk traditions and rugged natural sites admirably.
The capital, Tottori City, is famous for its massive sand dunes which cover more than 30 square kilometers of the coastline. There, you can choose to take on the dunes on foot, by camel, or by sand-boarding down them.
Elsewhere in the prefecture you’ll discover some unique and wild festivals which date back many centuries. One of the most interesting is the Misasa Onsen Hanayu Matsuri, during which a giant tug of war takes place using hand-woven ropes which weigh about two tons!
If you’re not too worn out from battling against strong-armed locals, you can then head down to the mountains in the south. Here you’ll find Mt. Mitoku — with a temple built into a cave and looking out over a sheer drop — and Mt. Daisen, a mini Fuji surrounded by lush green scrubland.
While some might overlook Tottori in favor of its more famous neighbors, those who take the time to explore here will discover plenty to remember for a long time.