Tottori Prefecture

Tottori Prefecture (鳥取県, Tottori-ken) is a prefecture of Japan located in the Chūgoku region of Honshu.[1] Tottori Prefecture is the least populous prefecture of Japan at 570,569 (2016) and has a geographic area of 1,354 square miles (3,510 km2). Tottori Prefecture borders Shimane Prefecture to the west, Hiroshima Prefecture to the southwest, Okayama Prefecture to the south, and Hyōgo Prefecture to the east.

Tottori Prefecture
Japanese transcription(s)
 • Japanese鳥取県
 • RōmajiTottori-ken
Flag of Tottori Prefecture
Official logo of Tottori Prefecture
Anthem: Wakiagaru chikara
Location of Tottori Prefecture
Coordinates: 35°26′56″N 133°45′58″E / 35.449°N 133.766°E / 35.449; 133.766Coordinates: 35°26′56″N 133°45′58″E / 35.449°N 133.766°E / 35.449; 133.766
RegionChūgoku (San'in)
SubdivisionsDistricts: 5, Municipalities: 19
 • GovernorShinji Hirai
 • Total3,507.05 km2 (1,354.08 sq mi)
 • Rank41st
 (June 1, 2016)
 • Total570,569
 • Rank47th
 • Density163/km2 (420/sq mi)
 • Dialects
Inshū・Kurayoshi・West Hōki
ISO 3166 codeJP-31
BirdMandarin duck (Aix galericulata)
FlowerNijisseiki nashi pear blossom (Pyrus pyrifolia)
TreeDaisenkyaraboku (Taxus cuspidata)

Tottori is the capital and largest city of Tottori Prefecture, with other major cities including Yonago, Kurayoshi, and Sakaiminato.[2] Tottori Prefecture is home to the Tottori Sand Dunes, the largest sand dunes system in Japan, and Mount Daisen, the highest peak in the Chūgoku Mountains.


The word "Tottori" in Japanese is formed from two kanji characters. The first, , means "bird" and the second, means "to get". Early residents in the area made their living catching the region's plentiful waterfowl. The name first appears in the Nihon shoki in the 23rd year of the Emperor Suinin (213 AD) when Yukuha Tana, an elder from the Izumo, visits the emperor. The imperial Prince Homatsu-wake was unable to speak, despite being 30 years of age.

"Yukuha Tana presented the swan to the emperor. Homatsu-wake no Mikoto played with this swan and at last learned to speak. Therefore, Yukaha Tana was liberally rewarded, and was granted the title of Tottori no Miyakko." (Aston, translation)[3]


Early historyEdit

Tottori Prefecture was settled very early in the prehistoric period of Japan, as evidenced by remains from the Jōmon period (14,000 – 300 BC).[4] The prefecture has the remains of the largest known Yayoi period (300 BC – 250 AD) settlement in Japan, the Mukibanda Yayoi remains, located in the low foothills of Mount Daisen[5] in the cities of Daisen and Yonago.[6] Numerous kofun tumuli from the Kofun period (250 – 538) are located across the prefecture.[7] In 645, under the Taika reforms, the area in present-day Tottori Prefecture became two provinces, Hōki and Inaba.[8]

Later historyEdit

During the Genpei War (1180–1185) between the Taira and Minamoto clans in the late-Heian period, Tottori became a base for anti-Taira forces, specifically at two temples, Daisen-ji and Sanbutsu-ji. By the beginning of the Kamakura period (1185–1333) shōen estates were established to directly support the Imperial court and various temples. Successive clans controlled the region during the Sengoku period (15th to 17th century), most notably the Yamana clan, but after the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600 the region was pacified. The Tokugawa shogunate installed the Ikeda clan at Tottori Castle. The clan retained control of the area until throughout the Edo period (1603–1868) and the resources of the area financially and materially supported the shogunate.[9]

Modern historyEdit

The two provinces remained in place until the Meiji Restoration in 1868, and the boundaries of Tottori Prefecture were established in 1888.[4] After the occupation of Korea and Taiwan in the 20th century, and the establishment of the Manchukuo puppet state in 1932, Tottori's harbors on the Japan Sea served as an active transit point for goods between Japan and the colonial areas. Before the end of World War II the prefecture was hit by a massive magnitude 7.2 earthquake, the 1943 Tottori earthquake, which destroyed 80% of the city of Tottori, and greatly damaged the surrounding area. In the postwar period land reform was carried out in the prefecture, resulting in a great increase of agricultural production.[9]


Map of Tottori Prefecture
     City      Town      Village
Cities in Tottori Prefecture
Tottori City

Tottori is home to the Tottori Sand Dunes, Japan's only large dune system. As of 1 April 2012, 14% of the total land area of the prefecture was designated as Natural Parks, namely the Daisen-Oki and Sanin Kaigan National Parks; Hiba-Dōgo-Taishaku and Hyōnosen-Ushiroyama-Nagisan Quasi-National Parks; and Misasa-Tōgōko, Nishi Inaba, and Okuhino Prefectural Natural Parks.[10]

Mount Misumi is located within the former area of Mochigase that was merged into the city of Tottori in 2004.


Four cities are located in Tottori Prefecture:

Name Area (km2) Population Map
Rōmaji Kanji
  Kurayoshi 倉吉市 272.06 48,558  
  Sakaiminato 境港市 29.02 33,888  
  Tottori (capital) 鳥取市 765.31 192,912  
  Yonago 米子市 132.42 148,720  

Towns and villagesEdit

These are the towns and villages in each district:

Name Area (km2) Population District Type Map
Rōmaji Kanji
  Chizu 智頭町 224.61 7,031 Yazu District Town  
  Daisen 大山町 189.83 16,357 Saihaku District Town  
  Hiezu 日吉津村 4.2 3,439 Saihaku District Village  
  Hino 日野町 133.98 3,202 Hino District Town  
  Hōki 伯耆町 139.44 11,071 Saihaku District Town  
  Hokuei 北栄町 56.94 14,718 Tōhaku District Town  
  Iwami 岩美町 122.32 11,382 Iwami District Town  
  Kōfu 江府町 124.52 2,950 Hino District Town  
  Kotoura 琴浦町 139.97 17,219 Tōhaku District Town  
  Misasa 三朝町 233.52 6,407 Tōhaku District Town  
  Nanbu 南部町 114.03 10,888 Saihaku District Town  
  Nichinan 日南町 340.96 4,665 Hino District Town  
  Wakasa 若桜町 199.31 3,209 Yazu District Town  
  Yazu 八頭町 206.71 16,985 Yazu District Town  
  Yurihama 湯梨浜町 77.94 16,837 Tōhaku District Town  



Per Japanese census data,[11][12] Tottori is the least populated prefecture in Japan.

Historical population
1920 455,000—    
1930 489,000+7.5%
1940 484,000−1.0%
1950 600,000+24.0%
1960 599,000−0.2%
1970 569,000−5.0%
1980 604,000+6.2%
1990 616,000+2.0%
2000 613,289−0.4%
2010 588,667−4.0%
2020 560,517−4.8%


Tottori Prefecture is heavily agricultural and its products are shipped to the major cities of Japan. Some of the famous products are the nashi pear, nagaimo yam, Japanese scallion, negi, and watermelon. The prefecture is also a major producer of rice.


Historically, the region had extensive linguistic diversity. While the standard Tokyo dialect of the Japanese language is now used in Tottori Prefecture, several other dialects are also used. Many of them are grouped with Western Japanese, and include the Chugoku and Umpaku dialects.[13]


The sports teams listed below are based in Tottori.




Noted placesEdit

Tottori CityEdit

Sunaba Coffee House, a well known Coffeehouse in Tottori


Panoramic view of Mount Daisen, Yonago

Daisen and YonagoEdit

Yonago and SakaiminatoEdit

View of Sakaiminato Mizuki Shigeru Memorial Hall and Character's Statue









Expressway and toll roadsEdit

  •  Tottori Expressway
  •  Yonago Expressway
  •  Sanin Expressway
  •  Shidosaka Pass Road
  •  Tottori-Toyooka-Miyazu Road

National highwaysEdit

  • Route 9
  • Route 29 (Tottori-Shiso-Himeji)
  • Route 53 (Tottori-Tsuyama-Okayama)
  • Route 178
  • Route 179
  • Route 180
  • Route 181 (Yonago-Niimi-Okayama)
  • Route 183
  • Route 313
  • Route 373
  • Route 431
  • Route 482



Prefectural symbolsEdit

The symbol is derived from the first mora in Japanese for "" combined with the picture of a flying bird, and symbolizes peace, liberty, and the advancement of the Tottori prefecture. It was enacted in 1968 to celebrate the 100th year from the first year of the Meiji Era.


  1. ^ Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "Tottori Prefecture" in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 990, p. 990, at Google Books; "Chūgoku" at p. 127, p. 127, at Google Books.
  2. ^ Nussbaum, "Tottori" at p. 990, p. 990, at Google Books.
  3. ^ Aston, W. G., translator., ed. (1972), "XXX", Nihongi; chronicles of Japan from the earliest times to A.D. 697 (1st Tuttle ed.), Rutland, Vt.: C.E. Tuttle Co., p. 175, ISBN 978-0-8048-0984-9, OCLC 354027 {{citation}}: |editor-first= has generic name (help)
  4. ^ a b "Tottori Prefecture". Encyclopedia of Japan. Tokyo: Shogakukan. 2012. Archived from the original on 2007-08-25. Retrieved 2012-04-07.
  5. ^ Muki-Banda Remains Archived 2012-09-04 at
  6. ^ "Mukibanda-iseki (妻木晩田遺跡)". Nihon Rekishi Chimei Taikei (日本歴史地名大系) (in Japanese). Tokyo: Shogakukan. 2012. Archived from the original on 2007-08-25. Retrieved 2012-04-07.
  7. ^ "Tottori Plain". Encyclopedia of Japan. Tokyo: Shogakukan. 2012. Archived from the original on 2007-08-25. Retrieved 2012-04-07.
  8. ^ Nussbaum, "Provinces and prefectures" in p. 780, p. 780, at Google Books.
  9. ^ a b "Tottori-ken (鳥取県)". Nihon Daihyakka Zensho (Nipponika) (日本大百科全書(ニッポニカ) (in Japanese). Tokyo: Shogakukan. 2012. Archived from the original on 2007-08-25. Retrieved 2012-04-07.
  10. ^ "General overview of area figures for Natural Parks by prefecture" (PDF). Ministry of the Environment. Retrieved 31 August 2012.
  11. ^ Tottori 1995-2020 population statistics
  12. ^ Tottori 1920-2000 population statistics
  13. ^ "Tottori-ken: seikatsu bunka (鳥取(県): 生活文化)". Nihon Daihyakka Zensho (Nipponika) (日本大百科全書(ニッポニカ) (in Japanese). Tokyo: Shogakukan. 2012. Archived from the original on 2007-08-25. Retrieved 2012-04-07.


External linksEdit