Guideto JapanCulture History
Japan’s least populous prefecture, Tottori is in the Chūgoku region in the west of the island of Honshū. The country’s largest sand dunes can be found along its northern coast, beside the Sea of Japan. The Chūgoku Mountains stretch from east to west along the south of the prefecture, and much of the rest of its area is at a high altitude.
Tottori Prefecture at a Glance
- Established in 1881 (formerly Inaba and Hōki provinces)
- Capital: Tottori
- Population: 553,000 (as of Oct. 2020)
- Area: 3,507 km2
Located within San’in Kaigan National Park, Tottori Prefecture’s 16-kilometer-long area of sand dunes in its capital of Tottori is the area’s best-known attraction. Visitors can climb a small hill for a view of the ocean. As the hometown of manga creator Mizuki Shigeru, the city of Sakaiminato has a museum dedicated to its famous son and many bronze statues of the yōkai (supernatural creatures) that appear in his works.
Tottori is known for agricultural produce like rakkyō scallions and Nijisseiki nashi pears. It also has fine seafood, with notable catches of zuwaigani crab. In local crafts, there is inshū washi, a form of traditional Japanese paper.
- Mizuki Shigeru (1922–2015): Manga artist, best known for Ge Ge Ge no Kitarō, and other stories featuring supernatural yōkai.
- Otowa Nobuko (1924–1994): Actress, who appeared in many works directed by Shindō Kaneto, including the horror films Onibaba and Kuroneko.
- Ishiba Shigeru (1957–): Liberal Democratic Party politician, who has served as minister of defense and LDP secretary-general.
(Originally published in English. Banner photo: Daybreak at Tottori Prefecture’s famous sand dunes. © Pixta.)
For the complete list of the country’s 47 prefectures, see “The Prefectures of Japan.”