Escape on a holiday to Japan’s sandy dunes and rocky shores; Julian Ryall; SCMP

Japan – Yakushima

Explore the breathtaking Tottori Sand Dunes or head into the icy waters against the rocky shores north of the town of Utoro

The crotchety-looking camel stamps its feet and kicks up a miniature sandstorm that drifts away across the dunes. Beyond the creature’s shaggy hump, the ocean of sand is marked by footprints and slopes away to a pale green oasis of grass and shrubs. A little further on, another dune rises almost sheer and, from the top, the view is of a completely different type of sea.

In front of me are the blue-grey waters of the Sea of Japan, flecked with the occasional whitecap, while away to the west is the mouth of the Sendai River and a port.

The Tottori Sand Dunes are part of Japan’s Sanin Kaigan National Park and a breathtaking and unique natural formation that is sufficiently expansive to give the visitor the impression that they are tramping through a stretch of North African desert or the American badlands.

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