Roots of Japan

Tottori

Think of Tottori and the first thing that springs to your mind is an image of the famous sand dunes.They are the largest in Japan that are accessible to tourists.However, Tottori's charm is not limited to the dunes.There are plenty of hot springs and places where you can enjoy stunning views of the ocean and mountains.Tottori is easily accessible by air from either Tottori Airport in the east, or Yonago Airport in the west.
Today we are featuring the best places in Tottori, from tourist attractions and hot springs to beautiful scenery.

Tottori has an approximate area of 3,507㎢ and an estimated population of 560,000.This makes it the prefecture with the lowest population in Japan.Another unique feature of Tottori is that it has only four cities.With a climate influenced by the Sea of Japan, Tottori is known for its heavy snowfall.In winter, most days are cloudy, rainy or even snowy, with few sunny days.However, it is not extremely cold. The average temperature in January is around 4 degrees, which is similar to Tokyo.However, it is more pleasant during the spring and autumn months when there are more sunny days.Since there is more to Tottori than the sand dunes, check out this list of 10 other charming tourist spots we’ve picked out for you.

1/ Sanbutsuji Temple and Nageiredo 2/ Utsubuki Park
3/ Gosho Aoyama Manga Factory4/ Conan Bridge
5/ Tottori Karo Crab Aquarium 6/ Enchoen Chinese Garden
7/ Hawaii Fudokikan (Museum of Cultural History)8/ Hoki Kodaino Oka Park
9/ Yonago Art Museum10/ The Sand Museum

If you visit the Tottori Sand Dunes, you’ll want to visit The Sand Museum, too.Once you’ve explored the dunes, you will enjoy marveling at beautiful sculptures made of sand.You will want to see this wondrous world up close!Tottori is also the home of Gosho Aoyama, author of the popular comic book series “Detective Conan”.Fans of “Detective Conan” will not want to miss visiting the Gosho Aoyama Manga Factory and Conan Bridge.Sakaiminato city in Tottori is the home of Shigeru Mizuki, most known for "Gegege no Kitaro”.There are many places where both children and adults can enjoy experiencing the unique world of "Gegege no Kitaro”Here are some of the most popular spots.

1/ Mizuki Shigeru Road 2/ Mizuki Shigeru Museum
3/ Gegege no Yokai world 4/ Yokai Shrine
5/ Sakai Line

Take a stroll along Mizuki Shigeru Road and look out for bronze statues of various “Yokai” characters that line the stretch of road.You can also travel on the Kintaro train which runs on the Sakai Line.How about taking a trip on a train decorated with illustrations of Neko-Musume or Medama-no-Oyaji?

Visiting an onsen (natural hot spring) in Japan has become a popular tourist experience for many.Tottori is also home to some great onsen resorts!There is nothing nicer than relieving your fatigue and relaxing in an onsen after a fun day out!Here is a list of some of Tottori’s best onsen resorts.

1/ Misasa Onsen 2/ Hawai Onsen
3/ Kaike Onsen 4/ Iwai Onsen
5/ Hamamura Onsen 6/ Tottori Onsen
7/ Daisen Onsen8/ Shikano Onsen
9/ Koyama Onsen10/ Togo Onsen

Kaike Onsen is located along Yumigahama Beach, which has been chosen as one of Japan’s top 100 beaches.Thanks to the areas high output of hot spring water, many of the inns operate using 100% natural onsen water, direct from the source.Tottori Onsen is just a five-minute walk from JR Tottori station.You can easily stop by and enjoy a soak in an onsen, even if you are visiting on business.As you can see, Tottori is full of onsens.We recommend you try combining your sightseeing activities with the experience of visiting one of the many local onsen resorts!Many locations also offer stunning views of cherry blossoms.By adding these popular cherry blossom viewing spots to your schedule, those who visit in the spring can enjoy even more quality time in Tottori.Here is a list of some of the best spots.

1/ Tottori Castle Ruins and Kyusho Park 2/ Shikano Castle Ruins Park
3/ Cherry Blossoms along the Fukurogawa Riverbank 4/ Nawa Park
5/ Utsubuki Park

The beautiful cherry tree-lined Fukurogawa River, lined by blossoming cherry trees for about 1.5 kilometers, is a popular viewing spot.How would you like to enjoy taking a stroll alongside the river while admiring the cherry blossoms?Tottori Castle Ruins and Kyusho Park are also famous for their cherry blossoms and attract many visitors each season.This area is also illuminated at night so we recommend adding this spot to your date plans!One of the great things about Tottori is the number of viewing spots worth checking out, besides the five places mentioned above.If spring is the season for cherry blossoms, then autumn is the time to check out the colorful autumn foliage.Visitors to Tottori can also find plenty of spots to enjoy beautiful autumn colors.There are many places where you can combine sightseeing with the opportunity to see the autumn leaves, so why not come and pay a visit!

1/ Suwa Jinja 2/ Ashizu Valley
3/ Mt. Mitokusan 4/ Mt. Daisen
5/ Mt. Senjosan

The Sanbutsuji Temple on Mt Mitoku is a popular location for viewing autumn colors.Sanbutsuji Temple and Nageire-do Hall have also been designated as a National Treasure.A place where you can enjoy both a national treasure and beautiful autumn foliage is definitely worth checking out!However, to get there you need to go up a mountain path, so make sure you wear comfortable clothes and shoes.Travel in groups of two or more, as there are some slippery and narrow places as well as parts where you follow the path using a chain hand-rail.

After looking around Tottori, you will want to try the local cuisine too.Try out all the food that catches your interest!!Here is a list of some dishes we definitely recommend.Several of these dishes can’t be found easily outside of Tottori so they’re worth trying out!

1/ Tofu-meshi (tofu and vegetables steamed with rice)
2/ Sakyu Rakkyo-zuke (Pickled shallots)
3/ Harusame Chawanmushi (savory egg custard with bean vermicelli)
4/ Azuki Zoni (sweet red-bean soup with pieces of mochi rice cake)
5/ Itadaki (rice and vegetables wrapped in deep-fried tofu)

Harusame Chawanmushi (3) can be found in and around Yonago city.Elsewhere in Japan it is unusual for harusame or bean vermicelli to be included in chawanmushi but around Yonago it is the most common way for this dish to be served.If you enjoy the taste, it is an easy and affordable dish to try at home. Ozoni is a traditional clear soup served on New Year's Day. But in Tottori, the soup is usually made from sweet red beans and served with round pieces of mochi. This sweet Ozoni would probably also make a great snack!
As you can see, Tottori is packed with interesting places to visit, in addition to the famous sand dunes.There are also many local dishes made from interesting and unique combinations, which you can easily try your hand at making too.Visit Tottori and make the most of your time in a prefecture known for its beautiful ocean, mountains, hot springs and delicious local cuisine!

It is my opinion and summary. Please acknowledge that there are various opinions.