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Tottori Sand Dunes

The largest sand dunes in Japan make for some impressive and unique scenery, with plenty of fun activities taking place on their slopes.

These gigantic sand dunes are a symbol of Tottori Prefecture, and their biggest tourist site. Although the scenery is dramatic, you don’t have to earn these views with a harrowing hike or long bus ride— they’re located just south of the capital city!

The dunes go on for about 16 kilometers down the coast, and the highest of them are around 50 meters tall. These massive formations were built up over the course of millennia by sand deposited from the Sendaigawa River and washed up by ocean currents.

Now they make for a fantastic, family-friendly outdoor playground. You can choose to walk up to the top of the dunes, or travel by camel. On the way down, you’ll also have the option of sand-boarding, or even paragliding.

If that all sounds very exhausting, then you can instead head to the Sakyu Center, which offers great views of the dunes from its observation deck and can be reached by chair lift. Another attraction in the area worth checking out is the Sand Museum, which is home to huge sand sculptures molded and carved by experts in this (by nature temporary) medium.

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