Camels Sand And Japan Tottori’s Desert Dunes

The Tottori Sand Dunes are a large stretch of sand in Japan that is considered part of a larger national park. It is the largest natural dune area in Japan, which has taken thousands of years to form.

Over a million people visit this desert each year from across the world to experience its natural beauty. 

The natural landmark has a beauty like no other place in Japan. In addition to being an important tourist destination, the Tottori Sand Dunes is a great place for exploring and a day of excitement for thrill-seekers.

There are many activities such as sandboarding, which visitors can partake in for an afternoon of fun.

Despite being a warm and sunny desert-like area in the summer months, these beautiful sand dunes have miraculous sights during each season, including autumn, which is full of blooming flowers in the area. 

What are the Tottori Sand Dunes?

The Tottori Sand Dunes is the largest dune area in Japan. It is a part of the San’in Kaigan Geopark. It is a short way outside of the central city center of Tottori, Japan.

These sand dunes are an important landmark in Japan, with over 1.3 million people visiting each year.

The shape and structure of the Tottori Sand Dunes have formed over hundreds and thousands of years, creating a natural dune area measuring 10 miles by 2.25 miles.

Recently, the size of the dunes has been decreasing because of the erosion from the nearby Sea of Japan.

As the ocean causes the dunes to erode and the wind pulls in more sand into the sea, the dunes continue to take new shapes and forms as the months and years pass.

Seasons of the Tottori Sand Dunes 

Every season is beautiful at the Tottori Sand Dunes. Deserts like the Tottori Sand Dunes are typically associated with summer and warm weather. However, these dunes have changing weather year-round.


The weather in the Tottori Sand Dunes can be intensely hot. Summer is one of the most common times of year for people to visit the Tottori Sand Dunes because the dunes are the most inviting. Many activities are available in the summertime that is unavailable during other times of the year, such as yoga. 


Fall is an active time of year for these dunes. The weather is great for adventuring, and there is constant wind. In addition to the wonderful weather, the bright purple Rakkyo flower will blossom from the dunes.  


In winter, the sandy dunes get covered with icy snow. The icy snow makes it difficult for people to navigate and visit the dunes, so very few people visit the Tottori Sand Dunes during wintertime.

Many activities available in other seasons like sandboarding are unavailable during this time of the year because it is too cold. However, these activities are replaced by weather-appropriate activities like snowboarding.


Springtime is one of the most beautiful times of year to observe the Tottori Sand Dunes. As the wind activity increases, patterns emerge in the sand. These patterns in the sand are called wind ripples. Around May, plants should begin to blossom from in and around the sand. 


Visiting the desert at night is a great way to observe the Tottori Sand Dunes’ true beauty. While it can get cold at night, viewing the bright stars and deep blue sea is a marvelous sight.

As the seasons change, the nighttime experience will significantly change as well. Many people recommend visiting the Tottori Sand Dunes at least once during the spring and summer to see how different these dunes can be during the day and at nighttime and witness a change of seasons.

Touring and viewing the Tottori Sand Dunes

Exploring the Tottori Sand Dunes to take in the sights is a great way to see everything these dunes have to offer.

Whether people decide to tour the dunes alone or follow a professional guide, touring the Tottori Sand Dunes is a great opportunity to take photographs and fully observe the scenery. 

There are many ways that people can tour the Tottori Sand Dunes. Because it is a part of the Sanin Kaigan National Park, people may freely wander the dunes. Free wandering means that you can bring large tour groups to the dunes without worrying. 

Some of the most common ways people tour the dunes are using camels or the large ski lift. In addition, there are also many other ways that people can tour the Tottori Sand Dunes and appreciate the unique scenery of Japan’s largest desert.

Tottori Dunes Official Website

Camel riding at the Tottori Sand Dunes

This camel riding experience is a wonderful way to tour the Tottori Sand Dunes. People visiting the park can take in the view of the miraculous Tottori sand dunes while riding one of the desert’s most iconic animals. 

There are several companies to make arrangements with, some of which have longer rides than others. People can make arrangements beforehand with a tour guide.

Camel Riding Tours

Most camels have two-person seats, which means these tours can accommodate groups if you plan ahead.

Camel rides are only available during summer because of where they keep the animals. Camels naturally are comfortable in desert-like conditions as well as Japan’s summer heat.

However, because the weather of the Tottori Sand Dunes changes through the seasons, they are not a sustainable habitat for the camels year-round. 

Chair Lift

Climbing to the top of the dunes can be tiring for some people. Instead of using energy climbing to the top of the dunes, visitors can use chairlifts. These chairlifts transport people from the bottom of the dunes to the top within only a few minutes.

While riding the chair lift, people have a great view of the Tottori dunes below. The chair lift is wonderful for pictures, and the experience is effortless.

Activities in the Tottori Sand Dunes 

There are many activities that people may enjoy in the Tottori Sand Dunes. Activities such as morning yoga on the dunes make observing the scenery more than just a nice sight.

If you are a thrill-seeker or an adventure enthusiast, you may choose to participate in an activity like paragliding to take in the amazing vistas.

Participating in activities while visiting the Tottori Sand Dunes lets people experience this famous Japanese landscape to its fullest.

Visiting the Tottori Sand Dunes is an unforgettable experience because it is unlike many other places in Japan. It is Japan’s largest desert-like area, which means you must go big when exploring it.

The Tottori Sand Museum

The Sand Museum of the Tottori Sand Dunes is an iconic museum in the Tottori Sand Dunes of Japan. The Tottori Sand Dunes is known for having unique geological features, which the Sand Museum desired to explore and demonstrate to visitors.

The Sand Museum was opened in 1963 to demonstrate sand sculptures across the dunes.

Inside the museum, visitors may observe some of the many sculptures displayed by various sand sculpture artists.

The Sand Museum frequently puts out at least two themed exhibitions per year, which makes it a great place to visit throughout the year.

Tottori Sand Museum Official Website

Original displays and exhibitions from the Sand Museum (in 1963) were temporary. The art was displayed outside and therefore subjected to the elements.

By 2012, a permanent building was erected for the Sand Museum. The Sand Museum has been in the same building and contains permanent sand sculptures to see.

Paragliding at the Zero Paraglider School

Paragliding is a great way for thrillseekers to take in the beautiful view of the Tottori’s famous dunes. The bird’s eye view lets you see another angle of these gorgeous sands that you would normally never see.

You also create great memories and satisfy your desire for adventure in the process.

Zero Paragliding Reservation Page

Sand dune yoga

The Tottori sand dune yoga with Dune Yoga has become an increasingly popular activity at the Tottori yoga dunes.

Taking place three times per day, people may attend a special class with a certified yoga instructor at the Tottori Sand Dunes.

Dune Yoga Website

Regular yoga classes offered by Dune Yoga include morning sun salutations on the dunes and evening yoga under the stars. Classes are offered daily for people of all skill levels at 5,000 yen per class per person.


Sandboarding in the Tottori desert is an exciting way for thrill-seekers to enjoy their time. People of all skill levels can try sandboarding because the many dunes make sandboarding effortless.

Typically, the people who enjoy surfing dunes the most have experience using a type of board (skateboard, wakeboard, etc.) previously.

There are several sandboarding companies on the Tottori Sand Dunes, which means people can choose the best option for themselves. A few of these companies also provide snowboards during winter.

Adventure To Tottori’s Dunes

My fascination with Japan began several years back at a roadside bonsai stand while on vacation. I became more interested in the where and why's more than the trees themselves. My love of Bonsai led me to further research my interest in the gardens where they originated from and the places and people that surrounded those little trees. My curiosity was well rewarded upon visiting Saitama where the National Bonsai Museum was located and Omiya Village the bonsai mecca for lovers of this ancient art form. Exploring many towns and villages and even making my way to Japan's furthest southern prefecture of Okinawa. I hope to share my love of this wonderful and exotic place with all those who want to know more about Japan.