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Tottori’s Winter Season: Lights & Sand Dunes

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Tottori’s Winter Season: Lights & Sand Dunes

When most Japanese people think of Tottori, the first thing that pops into their minds is the famous Tottori Sand Dunes. The summer is a great time for sand—but Tottori also has some unique offerings in winter, too!

For the thrill-seekers out there, why not take a shot at sand boarding? It's basically like snowboarding you can do all year round!

As you head south along the sand dunes, you'll come to the famous sand sculpture museum. Tottori's Sand Museum makes all those sand castles you made on the beach seem pretty insignificant by comparison. Here you can find people, buses, bridges and even historical buildings all made from sand. Sand artists from around the globe gather to display their work in this very museum, since Tottori reputedly has some of the most malleable sand in the world.

While the summer time does offer gorgeous beaches and warm sand...

...some might argue that the real attraction in Tottori happens during the winter. From the end of November to late December, the sand dunes are lit up with Christmas decorations. It’s hard to believe that what lies there is sand, since every inch of it is practically covered in illumination!

If you plan on heading to Tottori during the winter season, you should also visit the Wakasa Hyonosen Skiing Area. Including both the lift and gear rental fee, it’s about ¥7,000 for a day—and for more advanced boarders, they offer a variety of boxes, bars and kickers for tricks.

If you get tired of hitting the powder, you can meander through local nature at the Hyonosen Shizen Fureai Kan Hibiki no Mori, which roughly translates as the Hyonosen Nature Experience Building Echo Forest, where you can enjoy a remarkable full-sized diorama of a Japanese beech forest, among other exhibits. Be forewarned that it tends to be closed Monday to Wednesday during the winter, as well as for two weeks at New Year's!