Tottori City is the capital city of Tottori prefecture and is located on the northern edge of the prefecture near the Japan Sea, in the Sanin region. It is a small city with a population of 196,000 people and is best known for the Tottori Sand Dunes, which lie in northern section of the city and stretch to the Japan Sea.
The Tottori Sand Dunes are the only large sand dune system in Japan, and are therefore a popular destination for tourists. The dunes have existed for over 100,000 years and are a stark contrast to the scenery in all other parts of Japan, which is generally humid and subtropical with lush greenery.
Visitors can hike up the huge dunes (some of which are 50 meters tall!) and down the other side to the crisp, clear waters of the Japan Sea. It is common to see thousands of people out on the sand, as if they were part of some great procession.
The city’s natural environment is largely defined by its position on the Japan Sea and its seemingly endless coastline. Indeed, many visitors come to Tottori for its ample number of swimming beaches, many of which are near hotels, pension houses and campsites.
Other popular things to do and see in Tottori City include Tottori castle ruins; Shikano, the old castle town which is popular in spring when the cherry blossoms are in bloom; Jinpukaku, the French Renaissance-style residence of the historical Ikeda clan; the annual Shan-shan Festival, or the umbrella dance festival, in August; several washi Japanese paper studios, and a large number of hot springs in and around the city.
Tottori prefecture is renowned for its fresh seafood including crab, shrimp, squid, oysters, and various fish, and well as for its melons, Japanese pear (nashi) and watermelons. These gourmet items are readily available at many dining establishments throughout the city.