What’s in Chugoku? Vol. 1 Tottori Prefecture

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Tottori Prefecture is one of the least populated prefectures in Japan. Surrounded by beautiful mountains and clear waters, it is a place that boasts an abundance of nature.

Tottori City

Tottori City is the capital of Tottori Prefecture. Due to its roots as a castle town, there are many historic sites dedicated to the samurai clans in the area.

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Sakura in bloom at Tottori Castle Ruins | Photo Source

Tottori Castle Ruins
Built in 1532 during the era of warring states, Tottori Castle was home to the powerful Ikeda clan. The castle was destroyed during the Meiji Period, leaving behind castle stone walls and a single wooden gate. The Castle Ruins overlook the Jinpukaku Mansion, a European style building constructed in 1907 by the former Ikeda lords.

jinpukaku
The majestic Jinpupaku Mansion | Photo Source

 

Jinpukaku Mansion 
The Jinpukaku Mansion symbolised modernity and was the first residence to have electricity in Tottori. It is a nationally designated cultural property and has been used a temporary residence by the Crown Prince Yoshihito during the Meiji period. Now, you can explore the elegant interiors for the entry fee of 150 yen.

National Park Tottori Sand Dunes

In every grain of sand there is the story of the earth | murupara Mingalaba

The sand dunes is a must-visit place if you are in Tottori. Not only are they designated as a national natural treasure, they are also one of the famous attractions here. The sand dunes are accessible all seasons though activities such as camel riding, paragliding and sand surfing are subject to weather changes. You can also visit the sand museum nearby which displays many magnificent sand castles and learn about this great heritage of Japan.

Hot Springs

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Relax in this inviting hot spring | Photo Source

Relax and enjoy the hot springs in Tottori! Soaking in hot springs is often recommended for relaxation and healing. The heat of the water may feel overwhelming for first timers (it can get very hot!) but the warmth of the water becomes welcoming after you get used to it.

If you are uncomfortable with the idea of being stark naked, you can try out the foot baths ↑↑↑ instead. These hot springs and foot baths are scattered throughout the prefecture, but

Yonago

A map of all the hot springs in Yonago City | Yonago City Tourism Association
A map of all the hot springs in Yonago City | Yonago City Tourism Association

Kaike Onsen Town

While good hot springs and foot baths are scattered throughout the prefecture, Yonago City boasts some of the best onsen in the area. These “salt springs” are rumoured to have health benefits and beautification effect. Check out the Kaike Onsen town which is also popular with the locals.

 

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Capybaras relaxing at the Daisen Tom Sawyer farm | Photo Source

Daisen Tom Sawyer Farm

Complete your vacation with a visit to this farm, where you can interact with many free-range animals! You can play with the ultra-friendly dogs, feed some cute bunnies, or even pet some kangaroos. There are also pony rides and mini pig races for the children.

 

 

Kurayoshi

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A nostalgic street in Kurayoshi | Jungo Nagatani

Kurayoshi is a town of historical significance. The rows of old storehouses built during the Edo and Meiji periods are preserved as important cultural monuments, adding an air of nostalgia distinctive to this place. Take a walk along the famed Akagawara Shirakabe Dozougun street, home to the white-walled, red-tiled roofs of storehouses. Some of these storehouses are still open for business!

Nijisseiki Pear Museum

Not all museums are about societies and people. Located in Kurayoshi Park Square, the Nijisseiki Pear Museum showcases the history and industry of pears and its varieties. You can also try some delicious pear ice cream at the 20th Century Pear Memorial Hall, Nashikkokan.

 

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Shiny golden pears | Photo Source

Pear Picking Time!
August and September are the best months to eat these sweet and juicy pears. The pear is at its sweetest when it turns yellow, while yellow-green pears are crunchier. You can go pear-picking at farms during these months for the freshest and biggest of the lot, i.e. at Sankouen (Japanese site).

 

Sakaiminato

Sakaiminato is located near the sea, making it a natural port for international trade and delicious seafood. Large quantities of snow crabs and fish are harvested daily, making one think instantly of… glorious sashimi and seafood meals!

Plump and comforting bowl of yum. | wattaina.com
Plump and comforting bowl of yum. | wattaina.com

Matsuba Crabs (matsubagani 松葉ガニ)

Also known as matsubagani (松葉ガニ), these prized snow crabs are specifically caught in the Tottori area. The female crabs are called oyagani (親ガニ). Locals believe that the best way to eat these crabs with sanbaizuzuke (三杯酢漬け), a dipping sauce made from vinegar, soy sauce and mirin. They are also very popular as hotpot ingredients during winter. Other snow crab dishes you can also enjoy are shabu shabu, tempura or in miso soup!

 

There is also a Kanikkokan (Japanese site), a free museum on the lifestyle of resident species of crabs and its industry. There are many hands-on exhibits for children to enjoy learning about the life of crabs. When you are done with the Kanikkokan, head over to the Karoichi Market (Japanese site), a popular seafood market among locals which is located next door. Try the seafood at the restaurants there or buy fresh seafood home.

Mizuki Shigeru Road・Mizuki Shigeru Museum

The bronze statues outside Sakaiminato station | かがみ~
The bronze statues outside Sakaiminato station | かがみ~

Sakaiminato is also the hometown for Mizuki Shigeru, the manga artist of Gegege no Kitaro (ゲゲゲの鬼太郎). The love for these characters are also displayed in detailed bronze statues and the manhole covers. At the museum (Japanese site), visitors are introduced to the world of yokai and the common places they appear. The museum was also created to commemorate Mizuki Shigeru’s achievements for popularising Japanese folklore. You may also want to visit the Yokai Shrine located on the Mizuki Shigeru Road.   

The Yokai ema from Yokai Shrine | Raymond
The Yokai ema from Yokai Shrine | Raymond

Want to find out more about Tottori? Click here, or Tottori City’s official webpage.

 

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