A “geopark” is a kind of nature park having multiple geological heritages of particular scientific importance, rarity or beauty. On the recent wave of environmental protection and global sciences, geological heritages have been turned into tourism resources for activating local economies. With the strong support of UNESCO, geotourism is being aggressively pursued first and foremost in Europe and China. Within the San’in Kaigan Geopark, private organizations and governmental offices in Kyoto, Hyogo and Tottori Prefectures are working together to promote a wide variety of geopark activities.
North Pennines AONB Geopark
This geopark is located in the northern part of the Northern Pennines in England. Its rolling hills are made up of paleozoic strata formed about 400 million years ago.
Photo by Nickolas Zouros
Petrified Forest of Lesvos Geopark
The Petrified Forest of Lesvos Geopark is a specially protected region containing five parks, including an area with fossilized trees.
Photo by Nickolas Zouros
Geopark Harz-Braunschweiger Land-Ostfalen
This geopark located in the Harz Mountains southeast of Hannover, is rich with many different rock formations and mineral resources.
Photo by Heinz-Gerd Röhling
Mount Yuntaishan Geopark
This mountain mass has been analyzed as faults and joints. Its peculiarly shaped rock formations and picturesque waterfalls are as beautiful as an ancient ink painting.
Photo by Akira Oya
About the San’in Kaigan Geopark
The San’in Kaigan Geopark centers on the San’in Kaigan National Park, and features a diversified geology and terrain dating back to the formation of the Sea of Japan. This natural landscape is the backdrop for experiencing and learning about the history and culture of the area.
The geopark is in every sense of the word an “outdoor museum of local geology and terrain.” There are a number of rare natural heritages to see between the igneous rock formations and strata that date back some 25 million years to when the Sea of Japan formed, a rias coastline that was shaped by changes in sea level and movements in the earth’s crust, and a very diverse seafront topography characterized first and foremost by sandy beaches. People have lived in the geopark area since ancient times, and their history and culture can be absorbed against the backdrop of this natural landscape.
In the San'in Kaigan Geopark we emphasize these special features, to provide Geo tourism activities, that harmonize with protection of the natural heritage and contribute to the vitalization of the region. In December 2008 our park was certified as "Japanese Geopark" and in October 2010, the park applied for membership to the "World Geopark Network". The membership is confirmed every 4 years and in September 2014, an area in the western part of Tottori City was newly added to the park and its membership was confirmed by the world.
Tottori Sand Dunes
The Tottori Sand Dunes are one of three largest dunes in Japan. Sand from the Chugoku Mountains is carried down by the Sendaigawa River to the Sea of Japan where it forms the coast. Seasonal northwest winds then pile up the sand into coastal sand dunes. The dunes create a very unique landscape stretching from a dry area to wetlands.
This ria coast is a symbol of the great outdoors, comprising cliffs, caves, sea caves and peculiar shaped rocks washed by waves. The photo shows one of the scenic points called Senkan Matsushima, named after an anecdote of the Tottori clan lord.
This 65m high cliff features a dike of trachytic rhyolite. Its steep walls (70 degrees) are laid bare by erosion and expose countless columnar and platy joints reminiscent of the shoulder armor of a medieval warrior.
This basalt cave was exposed by a volcanic eruption about 1.6 million years ago. Professor Motonori Matsuyama measured the basalt magnetization direction and proved that geomagnetic polarity reversal (Brunhes/Matuyama Geomagnetic Reversal) occurred in the 4th century.
This sandbar formed at the bay opening, stretching from Kazurano to Minatomiya. It is called "Shotenkyo" meaning a "small bridge to heaven," and encloses the sea into a lagoon. The 28 km shore has different points for enjoying nature including campgrounds and swimming beaches.