The Tottori Sand Dunes are the only large coastal dune system in Japan. It is accessible as a day trip from neighbouring cities. Here’s how we got to the Tottori Sand Dunes and the nearby Tottori Sand Museum.
Getting to Tottori
There are various ways to get to the city of Tottori, which is northwest of Osaka. We had flown into Osaka and contemplated taking the Limited Express Super Hakuto train or the bus straight from Osaka.
As we could allocate only one precious day in Tottori, this would mean lugging all our belongings and staying the night so we could save time and continue moving west rather than return to Osaka.
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Since we were bent on heading westwards towards Hiroshima, we decided to station ourselves first at Okayama and use it as a base to take day trips to Tottori as well as Kurashiki.
With our Sanyo San’in JR Pass, we could ride the Limited Express JR Super Inaba, the most direct and efficient route northwards from Okayama to Tottori with just six stops.
The girls love the sun, sand and the sea as did we and were eager with anticipation. The day to visit Tottori finally arrived after a day of exploring Okayama.
When we reached our first stop at Kamigori on the JR train, a most interesting thing occurred. Everyone got up and turned the two-seater train seats around and motioned us to do likewise.
It is at this stop that the train changes directions and runs on a different non-JR track. Japan Rail Pass users pay a surcharge of 1,720 yen.
However, as Japan West Railway Company operates both the Super Inaba and Super Hakuto lines, our JR Sanyo San’in JR Pass covered us fully.
We continued to enjoy the scenic ride filled with magnificent views of green padi fields and rolling hills.
Getting From Tottori Station to Tottori Sand Dunes and Tottori Sand Museum
The Tottori Sand Museum is located quite close to the East Entrance of the Tottori Sand Dunes, the city’s main tourist attraction. You can get to the Tottori Sand Dunes from the Main Exit of the Sand Museum within a short five-minute walk. Both are sited 20 minutes from Downtown Tottori.
To get to the Tottori Sand Museum and Tottori Sand Dunes, there is a regular city bus at #0 bus stop just in front of the station. The ride departs hourly and costs 370 yen.
There is also a Kirin Jishi Loop Bus for tourists. This bus operates on weekends, national holidays and during the summer holidays (20 July to 31 August), bringing you to the sand dunes, Tottori Port and the castle ruins. It costs 300 yen per ride or 600 yen for a day pass. You will reach the dunes in 25 minutes if you take the A-Course and in an hour if you take the B-Course. The buses leave every one to two hours.
Tottori Station houses souvenir shops, a department store, restaurants and cafes.
Once we arrived at Tottori Station, we headed first to the Tourist Information booth at Tottori Station to get a map, tourist guide and a copy of the bus schedule so we could time our return to Tottori Station and catch the Shinkansen back to Okayama. Like the trains, Japanese buses operate on the dot and we couldn’t afford to get lost in the world of sand.
Off we went on the regular city bus. And in no time, we got from the quaint Downtown Tottori to the Sakyu Center Observation Deck.
Read more about our adventures here.