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Tottori Prefecture Named Japan’s No. 1 Travel Destination for 2019

Tottori’s adventure tourism a driving force for the honor by a Tokyo-based travel media.

Japan-based English-language travel website GaijinPot Travel released its lineup of the best places to travel to in Japan in 2019. At the top of the list is an unlikely candidate, a small prefecture in western Japan.

Tottori Prefecture was chosen as the No. 1 destination of GaijinPot Travel’s Top 10 Japan Travel Destinations for 2019, as part of its third-annual travel awards that recognize up-and-coming travel destinations in Japan for foreign tourists.

Tottori Governor Shinji Hirai said he was delighted to be recognized as the first-place winner.

“It is an honor to be selected as No. 1,” Hirai said. “Make a trip to adventure destination Tottori and see for yourself just what made us No. 1 in 2019.”

Tottori is the least populated prefecture in Japan and is best known for having Japan’s largest sand dunes that are accessible to the public. Its unique natural features along with its pop culture presence are just part of what makes it stand out.

GaijinPot Travel singled out Tottori’s “adventure destination” initiative as a driving force behind the award. Victoria Vlisides, GaijinPot Travel editor in chief, said Tottori exemplifies a vast amount and variety of adventure tourism spots and activities.

“Our research showed that travelers are looking for real experiences and adventures that go beyond the typical, instead of just sightseeing,” she said. “A 2019 world tourism trend is that travelers want to link up their trip with one-of-a-kind adrenaline rushes.”

Some examples of Tottori’s adventure tourism are scaling boulders and hiking in traditional mountain priest straw sandals on the mountain pilgrimage to Nageire-do, Japan’s “most dangerous national treasure”; fat-tire biking, paragliding and sand boarding on sand dunes; kayaking through rock formations along the Sanin Coast geoparks and “killer” snowboarding and outdoors activities on Mount Daisen, one of Japan’s Top 100 mountains.

Each destination in the Top 10, that includes spots all over the country, receives a GaijinPot Travel Top Destination for 2019 Award and, more importantly for the lesser-known destinations, a boost in awareness among GaijinPot’s audience of close to 1 million, 56 percent of which are based overseas.


What is evaluation criteria?

GaijinPot brand strategy manager Rebecca Quin said the evaluation for the final list was determined through countless hours of research by GaijinPot’s team of travel experts. The GaijinPot Travel editorial board selected each 2019 destination based on these three main criteria, so that the destination:

  1. Reflects advances in social/technological innovation and initiatives as they relate to tourism
  2. Has significant developments and/or events happening in 2019
  3. Reflects one of the main up-and-coming world travel and tourism trends determined via independent research

Read more about why Tottori is the top choice on the article released in November:


About GaijinPot is Japan’s longest running foreign media source for foreigners living, working and traveling to Japan. The website is viewed monthly more than 7.7 million times, and in February, it will celebrate its 20-year anniversary.

GaijinPot Travel is the travel branch of GaijinPot that highlights areas of Japan for foreign travelers. In September 2018, GaijinPot Travel was recognized by the Japan Tourism Awards as one of the up-and-coming website/technology methods that is connecting remote and local regions of Japan with inbound tourists.

Both sites are operated by GPlusMedia Inc., a subsidiary of Fuji Media Holdings.


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