Next Stop, Japan

Next Stop, Japan

Tottori Prefecture

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Tottori Prefecture (鳥取県) is on the north side of Honshu between Shimane Prefecture and Hyogo Prefecture. The southern border is mainly with Okayama Prefecture, but Tottori also shares a small border with Hiroshima Prefecture. The northern coastline is part of the Sanin Coast which extends into its neighboring prefectures. To the south, high mountain ranges protect Tottori from typhoon winds from the south. The geography in the west is dominated by Mt. Daisen, the highest peak in western Japan.

Tottori has the lowest population of all prefectures in Japan. It is close to being the smallest as well. Most of the people in Tottori Prefecture live near the Sea of Japan (East Sea) and many of its attractions like the Tottori Sand Dunes are close to the ocean as well. The prefecture makes up for its lack of famous shrines, temples and cities with some of the most beautiful and unspoiled scenery in Japan. Tottori is famous for its pears throughout Japan.


Karoichi and Kanikkokan

Karoichi is a large fish market in Tottori City where you can buy fresh local seafood or try out eating it in one of the attached restaurants. A museum dedicated to area crabs and the industry that relies on them is next to the warehouse.

Tottori Sand Dunes

The Tottori Sand Dunes are Japan's only large dune system. The dunes stretch along the coast east of Tottori City for 16 kilometers. The area is strikingly at odds with the rest of Japan which is known more for its humidity and rain.

Uradome Coast National Park

Uradome National Park is an incredibly stunning section of quintessential Japanese cliffs with naturally stunted pine trees along eastern Tottori Prefecture's coastline. The beach at Uradome is one of the best shallow sandy beaches in Japan.

Tottori Prefecture's Cities

Tottori Prefecture has 4 major cities, 15 towns, 5 districts and 1 village.

1. Tottori City

Tottori City (鳥取市) is the largest city in Tottori Prefecture with 193,419 (2014) living there and its capital. From the city center, it is a short drive to both the Tottori Sand Dunes and the Uradome Coast.

Website: Tottori City (Japanese)

2. Yonago City

Yonago City (米子市) is located along the coast west of Mt. Daisen, the largest mountain in western Japan. Around 147,963 (2014) people live there. The city is located in the middle of the Sanin Coast and it has become a major regional trade center. Ferries from its seaport travel to the Oki Islands.

Website: Yonagoshi City (Japanese)

3. Kurayoshi City

Kurayoshi City (倉吉市) is located about 40 km west of Tottori City. It has a number of famous spas like the Hawai Spa and Lake Togo is east of the city. A total of 49,040 (2014) people live in Kurayoshi.

Website: Kurayoshi City (Japanese)

4. Sakaiminato City

The smallest city in Tottori, Sakaiminato City (境港市), has only 34,518 (2014) people living there. It's located on the western most section of coast in Tottori on Yumigahama Peninsula which encloses the Sea of Naka behind it. Thus, the city is surrounded by water on three sides and Yonago City to its east. Miho Airbase (JSDF) which also doubles as Yonago Airport is located in Sakaiminato. Its citizens rejected an attempt to merge with Yonago City.

Website: Sakaiminato City (Japanese)

Professional Sports Teams

Tottori has no major professional sports teams.

Official Symbols of Tottori

The first character used in Tottori Prefecture's name (鳥) means bird. The official crest of Tottori (pictured on the right) combines the bird theme of the name with the character for 'to' (と) in Japanese. The crest was adopted in 1968 in celebration of the 100th year since the start of the Meiji Era (1868).

FlowerPear blossom (Pyrus)
TreeYew Tree - Daisenkyaraboku (Taxus cuspidata)
BirdMandarin duck (Aix galericulata)
FishHirame Flatfish

Getting There

Tottori Prefecture's only major airport is located quite close to Tottori City. Tottori Airport has only regularly scheduled domestic flights to limited number airports. It takes around 1 hour and 10 minutes to fly from Haneda Airport in Tokyo to Tottori. Yonago Airport, a smaller airport, is located in Sakaiminato City. Both airports offer a few chartered international flights.

All trains in the prefecture are run by JR West. There is no shinkansen service to Tottori. Local train lines connect Tottori City to Okayama City in Okayama Prefecture in the south. Travel times between the two cities vary from 1 hour and 40 minutes to over 3 hours depending on the route and whether the train is express or not. Along the coast, the Sanin Train Line connects to Shimane Prefecture in the west and Hyogo Prefecture in the east.

Long distance buses which travel to Tottori City are likely the easiest way to get there if you are coming from a major city. There are very few direct trains, but a number of highway buses go there and back every day from most close major cities.

Posted: April 5, 2011 Updated: February 14, 2015

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