Tottori Prefecture and its Many Gems

Tottori Prefecture (鳥取県 Tottori-ken), located in the Chūgoku region of Japan, is the country’s least populous prefecture and one of the most beautiful places to visit.

The word “Tottori” comes from two kanji characters 鳥, which means “bird” and the second, 取 means “to get.” Early settlers in the area made a living by catching waterfowl. The Nihon shoki also mentions it in the 23rd year of the Emperor Suiko,  when an elder from Izumo province, Yukuha Tana, visited the emperor.

9809168133_43303d8a3e_zOne of Tottori’s more popular places to visit is the Tottori Sand Dunes, Japan’s largest dune system. It spans roughly about 16 kilometers of coast along the Sea of Japan, is about two kilometers wide and 50 meters high, and is part of the Sanin Kaigan National Park. It is located just outside the Tottori city center, Tottori Prefecture in Honshū. The sand dunes were formed from sediment deposits carried by the Sendai River into the Sea of Japan from the Chūgoku Mountains.

Tottori Sand Dunes. | sinkdd

A13774600315_338f32e30e_znother picturesque attraction is the white-walled warehouses by Tama River in Kurayoshi City at the central Tottori Prefecture. The warehouses line about 400 meters of the street along the river and were mostly built between the Edo Period (1603-1868) and the Meiji Period (1868-1912). The burnt and carbonized cedar boards known as Yakisugi have been used for the outer walls of the warehouses.

Yakisugi. | David Gifford

There are also several merchant houses made from cold-resistant red roof tiles preserved along the Hon-cho Street. The prominent red tiled buildings are numbered 1 to 16 and have been renovated into trendy cafes and galleries.  The warehouses maintain its rustic old world charm from the time when it was used for soy sauce and sake brewing.