Did you Know There’s A Mini Desert In Japan? You’re Going To Love This!

The Tottori Sand Dunes covering an area of approximately 30 square kilometers are located near the city of Saitama on the island of Honshu, Japan.

These magnificent and unique sand dunes were created by sedimentary deposits carried from the Chugoku Mountains via the Sendai River into the Sea of Japan. The Seas currents and wind have helped bring the sand up from the bottom and deposit it on the shore where the wind is constantly changing the shape of the dunes.

The dunes have existed here for over 100,000 years, but since world war two the area has been steadily decreasing in size due to the government’s extensive reforestation programs. Concrete barriers erected to protect the coastline from Tsunamis has also disrupted the flow of sand onto the shore, Japanese authorities are taking measures to reduce the shrinkage of the sand dunes as each year the area attracts over two million visitors from within Japan and East Asia.

One of the methods employed by the Tottori prefectural government is the dumping of sand offshore near the dunes in the hopes of it being washed ashore by the ocean currents and winds. The Tottori Sand dunes are not technically designated as a desert, although due to conditions, the temperature on a hot summer’s day can reach as high as fifty degrees Celsius.

The highest Totorri sand dunes reach around 90 meters above sea level and with some having 40 degree slopes. A number of hardy plant species grow successfully in the conditions on the sand dunes and certain animals seem to thrive in sections of the dunes. Tourists to the Totorri dunes can take rides on camels and horse-drawn carts immersing them in the desert experience.

A cable car runs to the top of an adjacent hill giving the viewer a majestic scene of the dunes and sea. Near the sand dunes, you can find the famous Tottori Sand Museum, it was built to house the sand sculptures created yearly by artists from around the world. The sculptures change annually so the same sculpture is never seen twice.