Tottori and Shimane, which are to the north of Okayama Prefecture, are called "San'in" and it is a beautiful area on the Sea of Japan.
There are museums for the creators of the anime "GeGeGE no Kitaro" and "Detective Conan" as well as an abundance of photogenic spots like temples, hot springs, sushi, Japanese gardens, which all age groups can enjoy. I'm from Taiwan and this is a report of my first trip to San'in. I will introduce a two-night, three-day model course starting from the Okayama Airport branch (or Okayama Ekimae branch) of Heisei Car Rentals!
The information on this website is as of when it was last edited, November 2017.
There may be changes to various items including when facilities are open and fees. Check the latest information from any of various sources such as the facilities’ website before visiting the facility. All prices include tax.
Nageiredo (Nageire Hall) is a Buddhist temple built into the mouth of a cave on a sheer precipice of a mountain recess.
It is said that this is the most dangerous temple designated as a National Treasure to pray at. It is located in Misasa, Tohaku District in Tottori Prefecture. Nagereido is at the rear of Mount Mitoku/Sanbutsu-ji at an elevation of 900 m. In order to climb the steep mountain trail, I first had to go to the Sanbutsu-ji mountain climbing office. Mountain climbing clothes and shoes are necessary. (If you do not have shoes, you can wear straw sandals.) You are not allowed to enter by yourself; make sure to bring at least one friend.
The trail has a difference of elevation of 200 m with a total length of about 700 m. It takes about one hour to hike the trail. While you need to be fit to hike the trail, you will be moved by the amazing building that appears when you get to the top.
* Entrance is not permitted during rain or poor weather conditions and from December to March due to snowfall.
It takes about two hours to get to Sanbutsu-ji by car from the Okayama Airport branch of Heisei Car Rentals. I recommend that you take breaks and drive safely. Once you arrive, you will climb stairs like these.
There are several other buildings and temples in addition to the main hall at Sanbutsu-ji. This is a picture of Rinkoin, which is at the base of the mountain.
Climb over tree roots.
Hold on to the chain and climb up a steep hill.
There are a number of shrines along the trail. This is a picture of Monjudo.
Arriving at Nageiredo. It is a round-trip of about 1.5 to 2 hours from the office.
Misasa hot springs are near Nageiredo and there are numerous Japanese style inns in the area. I recommend that you stay in this area on your first night.
There hot springs were discovered about 850 years ago and you can enjoy traditional Japanese scenery and beautiful nature. Japanese inns line both sides of the river banks and there is also a hot springs town with restaurants, antique and souvenir stores, an arcade shooting gallery, and other establishments, all with lots of character. The baths contain radium and the hot springs are well-known as a mecca of therapeutic benefits.
付There are numerous Japanese inns in the neighborhood. At each facility, there are various hot springs, meals, and rooms available.
There is also a free bath facing the river. As the bath is mixed and there are also almost no walls, the inn hot springs give you more peace of mind.
About 20 minutes by car from the Misasa hot springs is Shirakabe Dozo Gun in Kurayoshi. You can stroll through a traditional Japanese town scape that was made about 150 years ago consisting of white walled warehouses, red tile buildings, and other old-style buildings.
This is a manga and anime museum in the birthplace of Gosho Aoyama, the creator of Detective Conan.
The museum consists of seven zones. It has Mr. Aoyama's workshop, a gallery of his original drawings, an attraction of a turbo-charged skateboard, a Conan souvenir store, and lots more. It's conveniently connected to the Daiei Rest Area.
In the museum you can see statues, original drawings, and other exhibitions, making your dream to meet Conan come true.
It feels like you are drawing a manga, like Mr. Aoyama.
This is original goods store. You can also find rare goods that can only be purchased here.
This is a museum in the birthplace of manga writer Mr. Shigeru Mizuki, known for creating the manga "GeGeGE no Kitaro".
An 800-meter section of the road from JR Sakaiminato Station is called Mizuki Shigeru Road and is awash with statues of monsters. The museum is near the end of the road. In the museum, you can take pictures with popular characters, see drawings by Shigeru Mizuki and an exhibition of monsters living in a cave. An audio guide in foreign languages is also available.
Mizuki Shigeru Road that features statues of monsters all over the place.
There are lots of photogenic places in the museum.
Riding the monster "Ittan-momen." Does it look like I'm riding in the sky?!
This is a conveyor belt sushi restaurant located in Sakaiminato, which has the largest hauls of crabs in Japan.
As the restaurant is adjacent to a fishing harbor, their selection of fish is different to a regular conveyor belt sushi restaurant and you can savor fresh fish sourced from the market every morning. Their recommendations are crab and tuna sushi. The harbor also has the highest hauls of raw blue-fin tuna at a freshness level unique to Sakaiminato.
Tairyomaru Sakaiminato Restaurant on Yumigahama facing the Sea of Japan. (Tairyomaru Minatosakai Restaurant is near the Mizuki Shigeru Road.)
Tairyomaru Minatosakai Restaurant
1F, Minato Sakai Korykan, 215 Taishōmachi, Sakaiminato, Tottori Prefecture
Touch the iPad screen to order. The iPad has support for multiple languages and is on every table.
You'll be amazed at the thickness of their famous otoro (pink fatty tuna).
In the Kani Zukushi Teishoku (Assorted Crab Meal), you get sushi from various parts of the crab, soup, and salad, all for only 1,500 yen (excluding tax).
Nearby you'll find several souvenir stores selling fresh seafood. This picture is of a store called Good Catch Market Nakaura in front of Tairyomaru. In front of the 7.7-meter high stone statue Kitaro is a great place to take a picture.
The Dream Minato Tower is right next door. It has a 43 meter observation deck with a 360-degree view of the Sea of Japan.
It is a museum that has a beautiful garden, which has been selected as the number one garden in Japan for 14 years in a row by an American magazine specializing in Japanese gardens.
The Japanese garden is like a painting and was built as an entrance that makes one feel the wonderfulness of Japanese-style paintings by master Japanese painters like Yokoyama Taikan. The museum displays Japanese-style paintings, ceramic works, and modern Japanese-style paintings of famous artists.
Please visit the best garden in Japan. As pictures are not permitted to be taken of the exhibits, I cannot show you any pictures, but I can tell you that there are many beautiful Japanese-style paintings on display.
On the second day, I stayed near the base of Tottori Prefecture's highest summit, Mt. Daisen. Sanrakuso is a quiet and charming temple inn.
14 Daisen, Daisen-cho, Saihaku-gun, Tottori Prefecture
Temple lodgings are accommodation facilities for worshipers and Buddhist monks originally stayed here. Nowadays, facilities that regular tourists can also stay at are increasing and you can also stay at Sanrakuso.
Walking up the stone stairs near the temple lodgings you'll find Daisen-ji Temple. If you continue another 700 meters along the stone path you'll reach Ogamiyama Shrine Okunomiya. Along the path approaching the shrine, you'll be able to see the top of Mt. Daisen. It's a round trip of 40 minutes, perfect as a morning walk.
The meals are vegetarian. (The meals do not contain meat or fish and are made of only plant-based ingredients like vegetables, grains, seaweed and such like.
All rooms are Japanese style and Wi-Fi is available. If you want, you can try meditation and sutra copying.
There is also a hotel nearby. Those that want a western-style room and/or meat or fish meals may prefer the hotel.
Daisen Royal Hotel
1647-13 Nakaso, Maruyama, Houki-cho, Saihaku-gun, Tottori Prefecture
Western Japan's largest outdoor obstacle course at the base of Mt. Daisen.
There is a large grass square and you can also experience attractions and handicrafts that use the natural forest. At the nearby horse riding center, families and beginners can also ride horses. I recommend having a barbecue at lunch time while enjoying the view of the grass square.
There's a play square in the midst of beautiful nature.
There are 45 obstacles including a round log running track and swings. There is also a lot of playground equipment that children from 3 years old can enjoy.
The Daisen Riding Center is four minutes by car from the obstacle course. Children from 3 years old right through to seniors, regardless of experience, can ride a horse.
The walking course is 1 km, about 20 minutes, and costs ¥4,300 for one person.
Horse Riding Club Daisen Riding Center
2459-130 Akamatsu, Daisen-cho, Saihaku-gun, Tottori Prefecture
Daisen Makiba Home of Milk is about 15 minutes by car.
You can try milking a cow and making ice cream. There is also a store selling soft serve ice cream and souvenirs.
Daisen Makiba Home of Milk
2-11 Kobayashi Mizunashibara, Houki-cho, Saihaku-gun, Tottori Prefecture
Behind the Chugoku region's highest summit, Mt. Daisen, is Masumizu Highland from which you can see a panorama of the Sea of Japan.
You can enjoy a stroll in the air on the gondola lift, which is 500 meters long with one ride taking eight minutes to get to 900-meter high observation deck. The observation deck has a "Lover's Holy Site" monument and a fence to put love locks onto.
You can enjoy skiing at Masumizu Highland in winter. You can travel to the observation deck at the top of the mountain at a height of 900 meters all seasons except winter. The observation deck has a "Lover's Holy Site" monument.
At this spot you can view the enormous Mt. Daisen to the rear and the beautiful Sea of Japan below.
It takes about two hours by car from Masumizu Highland to Okayama Airport. If you have time, drop into Hiruzenkogen Center. You can have a meal, buy souvenirs, and have fun at the amusement park.
Hiruzenkogen Center Joyful Park
1205-197 Hiruzenkamifukuda, Maniwa, Okayama Prefecture