Land area: 8,783 ha
Designated on 15 Jul, 1963
The Japan Sea is the long, thin sea located between the Eurasian Continent and the Japanese Archipelago. The long coast on the main island faces the sea and has a complex shoreline. This national park is blessed with beautiful seashores, coastline and seaside plants. It is a park with many scenic spots of natural beauty including Tottorisakyu Sand Dunes, the most famous sand dunes in Japan.
San'inkaigan National Park is in an area along the Japan Sea that extends from almost the center of the Japanese Archipelago to the west. Specifically, it is the area along the coastline about 75 km from Aminokaigan Coast in Kyoto Prefecture to the Tottorisakyu Sand Dunes in Tottori Prefecture. It extends over the Kinki and the Chugoku Regions.
As its coastal areas have complex geologic structures, each area has different terrain, which makes many interesting coastal landscapes. There are a wide variety of rocks on the coast and each area has been through unique geological changes such as upheaval and erosion, so it is very interesting to observe the geology and appreciate the beauty of the rocks. The park has many unusually shaped rocks and cave mouths including Tsuriganedomon (hanging bell) Cave Mouth on Tajima-Mihonoura Coast in Hyogo Prefecture, which is one of the largest cave mouths in the world.
Kinosaki in Hyogo Prefecture, which is located in the west of Kyoto, is a hot-spring town with distinctive atmosphere. It is famous as the setting for a novel by Shiga Naoya, a prominent Japanese writer, and attracts many tourists. Going inland from Kinosaki along the river, one will reach Genbudo, one of the largest basaltic caves in Japan, which is 70 m wide and 35 m high. In the cave, spectacular columnar and tabular joints can be seen.
Further west along the sea lies Uradomekaigan Coast in Tottori Prefecture, which is known for its beautiful landscape of the rias coast. Visitors can enjoy the exquisite coastal view that is composed of sea cliffs and many small islands.
The Tottorisakyu Sand Dunes located in the west end of the park are large sand hills 16 km long and 2 km wide. As the slope of the dunes is relatively steep, they look like an inland desert and presents beautiful scenery which is typical of desserts. There are conic depressions and semicircular sand hills in the dunes. Fine rippling patterns formed by the wind in the sand can be seen.
As deterioration of the sand dunes have been observed in recent years due to the decrease in the volume of the sand, afforestation and intrusion of weeds, various measures to preserve the landscape have been taken.
As the park is located in a coastal area, its vegetation mainly consists of Japanese black pine (Pinus thunbergii) woods and other trees. Broad-leaved evergreen forests of tabunoki (Machilus thunbergii), Japanese chinquapins and evergreen oaks can also be found. In the Tottorisakyu Sand Dunes, some seaside plants grow.
The ocean floor topography is full of variety and the waters are very transparent. The area, which has an excellent marine landscape with communities of seaweeds and fish swimming in schools, is designated as a Marine Park Zone.