The first day of my three-day adventure in Tottori started with taking the airplane from the domestic terminal of Haneda airport in Tokyo and arriving at the Tottori prefecture's Conan airport.
Once I got off the plane I was greeted by the prefecture's tourism administrator as well as his second in command and our guide and translator. They were all very kind and ushered me to the nearby bus which will take me from the airport to Tottori station where they have the International Tourism Support office.
The people working there are super helpful and they can speak English so they can give you advice on what to see and you can also rent a local taxi which costs 1,000 yen per person for a total of 3 hours. This means the taxi will wait for you wherever you go up to the total time, it only took a few minutes for it to arrive and I hopped in and went to visit the famous Tottori Uradome coast. The area is famous for its bright and blue ocean water, similar to Okinawa's ocean waters and it also has some fantastic beaches and small islands.
The boat cruise was about half an hour long and you can also purchase snacks before you embark so you can feed the hungry seagulls that will chase the boat. The views are mesmerizing especially the famous coast cliffs and the amazing sapphire water. After coming back to the shore I was invited to the ice cream store located in the same building as the cruise center and from where I was able to taste squid ink ice cream for the first time in my life. It is definitely something to behold and the taste will surprise you. After being satiated with ice cream I hopped on the taxi again and headed to the famous sand dunes.
They are indeed a sight to behold, stretching for about 16 kilometers and reaching about 47 meters at the highest point from the ocean they make you feel that you are not in Japan anymore. It is incredible to see the fine sand accumulated for thousands of years and also how close it is to the sparkling ocean waters. The dunes are more than just a scenic spot, you can have a camel ride, or enjoy paragliding and even sandboarding. They are also home to some special plants and flowers, as well as showcase some black sand also known as volcanic ash from a nearby mountain.
Just a hop skip and jump away from them is the famous sand sculpture museum which showcases the work of more than twenty international artists which together created magnificent pieces of art using the local sand. The theme for this year was South America and the artists were very detailed with their sculptures from the face of Jesus of Rio de Janeiro fame to other various pieces of history that came alive in sand. Outside the museum is where the souvenir shop is located and you can take a piece or more of the sand dunes with you home inside various containers. After having a look around the main floor and the upstairs view of the museum I took the provided prefecture car along with my guides to go towards the traditional ryokan hotel.
On the way there we drove along the Hakuto coast and stopped to visit the Hakuto shrine dedicated to the legend of the white rabbit that helped people find love. The legend is quite old and so in this area there is a shrine, a set of statues as well as many miniature rabbit sculptures made of stone. The view is incredible at sunset and you can feel there is something magical about this place. Once the sun set we continued our drive towards the ryokan to rest after a long and eventful first day in Tottori, please check out my next article in this series to see what adventures await me on the second day.