砂 suna—sand

We drove to Tottori prefecture on Saturday, to see the famous Tottori sand dunes.

The dunes look like a sandy desert, stretching a couple of kilometres inland from the shore, and many kilometres along the shore.

It’s not a desert, of course; there is plenty of rainfall and various plants manage to grow there.

Needless to say, the dogs loved it. We were able to let them run free off the lead.

The sand is quite firm underfoot, and it’s a very nice feeling to take off your shoes and socks and walk barefoot across it. At least at this time of year, when the sand is not burning hot underfoot (I heard it can be more than 60ºC in summer).

Of course this gave Shiro the chance to play his favourite “I steal your sock and you chase me” game, which he never tires of.

There is a main tourist area with a big car park and bus park, and lots of tourist attractions such as a museum of sand carvings, and camels that you can ride on and pretend you are in the Sahara. We parked quite far away from there, at a different part of the dunes. That wasn’t intentional on our part, but it turned out to be a good idea, as we were able to experience the beautiful and strange landscape without being surrounded by crowds of other tourists.

Here you can see the one hill where all the tourists congregate. They walk to the top of this hill and then walk back to the car park. We, on the other hand, had miles and miles of sand almost entirely to ourselves. I don’t mean that to sound superior; it’s just the way it worked out for us.

Here are some people taking a camel ride:

Paragliding off the dunes is a popular activity:

There is a kind of tethered version available for tourists, where you ascend briefly to about 6 metres off the ground. It looks like fun!

We walked about 1 mile from the car to the coastline.

Arriving at the beach, we were amazed to discover a lot of items that had washed ashore from faraway places. This bottle had floated from Taiwan, and had been in the sea so long that it had grown a fringe of seashells along one edge.

“Nantong Speciality” tea from China:

The waves were rolling in from the Sea of Japan, and I rolled up my jeans for a paddle. Needless to say, I got pretty wet.

As usual, Miffy was angry with the waves.

Note on the word of the day:

In Japanese, the sand dunes are called 砂丘 sakyuu, literally “sand hills”. The first character is 砂 suna, meaning sand. Sand is a fairly easy character to remember: the left side is 石 ishi, meaning stone or rock, while the right side is 少 meaning few or a little.

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2 thoughts on “砂 suna—sand

  1. Thanks for the compliment about the dogs! They are really good dogs and great companions. But not only that, they are a really good way of meeting strangers and getting to talk to people here in Japan. Normally people wouldn’t approach you and start talking, but when you are walking with dogs in the park or the neighbourhood, it’s a great conversation starter. People are always amazed when I tell them the dogs came from Ireland!

    I would definitely consider paragliding off a dune! Especially the “safe” option in the second pic, where the guy holds onto the ropes so you don’t get too high and fast. It looks like a lot of fun.

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