Japan boasts countless attractions to delight and entertain tourists, but there might not be any that are more unexpected than the Tottori Sand Dunes. The dunes, in Tottori Prefecture near Tottori City, are unlike anything else in all of Japan – and the area is so impressive that it would be easy to mistake it for a previously-unknown desert.
(all images via: Oddity Central)
The Tottori Sand Dunes have existed for approximately 100,000 years. They were formed by sediment from the Sea of Japan washing up onto shore and being blown into the dunes. Strong winds constantly rearrange the sand deposits, creating incredible desert-like formations that can reach heights of 90 meters. The unusual dunes draw an estimated two million visitors each year.
The weather at the dunes can be strange and unpleasant: the sand reaches temperatures of 65 degrees Celcius (nearly 150 degrees Fahrenheit) in the summer, making it impractical to walk around barefoot like one would at the beach. It also rains quite often, which can shatter the illusion of being in a desert but brings out adventurous sand-boarders and creates interesting patterns in the sand.
Although the dunes bring in plenty of tourists, they are in constant danger of disappearing. Human interventions like reforestation and protective concrete barriers have prevented new sand from being deposited in the dunes, causing them to shrink significantly. If you are planning a trip to Japan, be sure to stop by this incredible location before it is gone forever.