Rolling sand dunes that stretch for miles, camels marching through the midday sun, a small deserted oasis. Not exactly what comes to mind when you think Japan. But at the Tottori sand dune field, visitors may as well be on a different continent. This tiny desert is an oasis of seclusion in one of the world's most crowded countries.

Located on shoreline bordering the Sea of Japan, Tottori's dune fields offer scenery completely unlike the rest of the country. Tottori is one of the least populated areas in the island nation. A vast departure from bustling Tokyo. The area is not connected to major cities through bullet train or the mass transportation web. This remote and pristine dune field is located a short 20-minute ride from the town's center.

Rolling sand dunes

Credit: Hashi Photo

Tottori is a well-kept secret with big rewards for going out of your way to explore. The dune field stretched for 10 miles along the coast. Some sand dunes reach over a hundred feet tall, with a mountainous climb paved by blowing sand. But you had better believe that, from the top, you will find some incredible views of the sea.

For as sparsely traveled as the Tottori sand dunes are, there is no shortage of things to do there. This natural wonder is a protected national park, but that doesn't mean visitors can't climb and play on them. Visitors bring sleds and toboggans to tackle the steep slopes, but that's not the only way to get your adrenaline pumping. The park offers several classes for more extreme thrill-seekers. If you're into snowboarding or longboarding, take a sandboarding class (think skateboarding off-road). Or if you want to catch a little more air, try your luck with a hang gliding course. This is the perfect environment to learn without fear of falling on anything harder than a pile of sand. And whatever you do, don't miss the camel rides through this small Sahara!

The Tottori sand dunes bring together two incredible environments in perfect balance. The scenery of North Africa, the temperate climate of Japan, and the nearby beaches make this a hidden gem worth searching for. So, will you visit this natural attraction?

Related Article: Why You Should Visit Japan This Autumn