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Enjoy The Magnificent Nature Of Tottori Through 10 Fun Activities

Enjoy The Magnificent Nature Of Tottori Through 10 Fun Activities

Translated by Greg

Written by MATCHA-PR

Tottori 2020.03.25 Bookmark

Tottori might be best known for the impressive Tottori Sand Dunes and Mt. Daisen, a popular hiking spot. Visitors can enjoy unique activities in Tottori that are not available elsewhere such as camel-riding, sea kayaking, and stargazing, but also visiting amazing museums and rustic streetscapes.

Tottori - A Treasure Trove of Unique Experiences

Tottori Prefecture, located in western Japan, is reachable in about three hours from Osaka by limited express train. It's a region where you can enjoy majestic natural scenery that changes with the seasons.

First of all, visitors can enjoy activities and marvel at the Tottori Sand Dunes, the largest desert-like area in Japan. The traditional festivals held at scenic Mount Daisen, sea kayaking, and discovering delicious local seafood cuisine are just a few other things that can only be enjoyed in Tottori.

We introduce ten activities that visitors to Tottori should not miss out on!

1. Have Fun at the Tottori Sand Dunes

鳥取砂丘

Photo by Pixta

The Tottori Sand Dunes are the most famous destination in Tottori. The dunes extend over 2.4 kilometers from north to south and 16 kilometers from east to west. This is Japan's largest desert and coming here is like entering a whole different world.

鳥取砂丘

Picture from Tottori Sand Dunes - A Complete Guide To Japan's Unique Sand Dunes

Visitors can enjoy several activities at the Tottori Sand Dunes. Paragliding is one of the most popular ones. From high above, you can marvel at the stunning scenery created by the vast sand dunes and the Sea of Japan.

Participants are guided by an instructor, so no need to worry if it's your first time paragliding.

鳥取砂丘

Picture from Tottori Sand Dunes - A Complete Guide To Japan's Unique Sand Dunes

You can even straddle a camel and have your picture taken as you go across the dunes! If you want to ride the camel together with your children, no problem.

鳥取砂丘

Picture from Tottori Sand Dunes - A Complete Guide To Japan's Unique Sand Dunes

Alternatively, you can ride fat bike on the surface of the sand along the seashore and the nearby mountain trails.

Tottori Sand Dunes

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2. Sea Kayaking in Transparent Waters

浦富海岸

Picture courtesy of Tottori Prefecture

Uradome Beach is just fifteen minutes away by car from the Tottori Sand Dunes. The beautiful sea spreads out in front of you, and the water has a transparency level of 25 meters.

This picturesque beach is part of a UNESCO Global Geopark. The scenery of this beach was formed over time by the rough waves of the Sea of Japan and by the cold winter winds. It's a place that charms and fascinates the many people who visit here.

シーカヤック

Picture from Explore The Transparent Waters Of Uradome Beach In Tottori

Ride a sea kayak at Uradome Beach and you'll get a close-up look at its steep cliffs and beautifully shaped rocks.

Sea kayaking tours are available for beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels so that anyone can enjoy themselves.

浦富海岸

Picture courtesy of Tottori Prefecture

Along with sea kayaking, clear kayaking is also popular. If you ride a completely transparent kayak, it feels just like you're floating on top of the water. This is a truly unique experience that lets you fully enjoy the crystal clear water of Uradome.

浦富海岸

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3. Climbing to Japan's Most Dangerous National Treasure

三徳山

Picture from Tottori's Power Spots - Feel The Healing Power Of Nature

When speaking of sacred sites in Tottori prefecture, Mitokusan Sanbutsuji Nageiredo Temple in Kurayoshi comes to mind.

Mount Mitoku used to be a training ground for shugendo (*1) practitioners. This mountain has been a center for ascetic practice since about 1,300 years ago. The building associated with shugendo is Nageiredo, often called “Japan's most dangerous national treasure.”

*1 Shugendo: a Buddhist religious sect that combines Buddhist and Shinto ascetic practices.

三徳山

Picture courtesy of Tottori Prefecture

Nageiredo Hall is located at an elevation of 520 meters. A steep mountain trail leads to it. There are points on the trail where climbers need to grab onto tree roots in order to advance or to hold onto a chain to ascend the mountain. But please don't get discouraged by these temporary challenges.

This long climb to Nageiredo symbolizes the transformation that an impure human being must undergo in order to achieve enlightenment. The harshness of this challenge was considered to be a good preparation for overcoming hardships.

投入堂

Picture from Tottori's Power Spots - Feel The Healing Power Of Nature

Upon reaching the end of this steep path, the climber sees the Nageiredo Hall for the first time and feels a deep sense of accomplishment.

Nageiredo looks as though it were stuck to the side of a sheer cliff. Even today, it's a mystery as to how was this hall built into the mountain.

There are several rules that must be followed in order to preserve the environment of Mt. Mitoku. Before climbing up to the hall, please check the details by referring to the MATCHA article below.

Mitokusan Sanbutsuji Nageiredo

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4. Shirakabe Storehouses - Walk Along Edo-Period Streets

大切な人と一緒に見たい!夏の星空を鳥取の三朝温泉で楽しもう!

Picture from Beautiful Starry Skies, Onsen, And Fireflies! A Two-Day Trip To Tottori

The Shirakabe Storehouses (White Wall District) is an area in central Tottori that has been designated an Important Traditional Building Preservation District.

The area developed as a merchant town from the Edo period until the Meiji period. Many of the buildings here were constructed more than one hundred years ago. The area is extremely popular among photography enthusiasts.

美しい星空に温泉、そしてホタル!鳥取の倉吉・三朝温泉をめぐる1泊2日の旅

Picture from Beautiful Starry Skies, Onsen, And Fireflies! A Two-Day Trip To Tottori

Currently, many of these beautiful historic buildings house sophisticated cafes and souvenir shops.

大切な人と一緒に見たい!夏の星空を鳥取の温泉で楽しもう!

Picture from Beautiful Starry Skies, Onsen, And Fireflies! A Two-Day Trip To Tottori

Shirakabe-Club is one of these shops. This is a western-style restaurant that is very popular with the locals. The building has been designated as tangible cultural property and you can sense its long history the moment you step inside.

If you're in the area for lunch, we warmly recommend their refined Shirakabe Lunch (*limited to 20 orders daily).

Kurayoshi Shirakabe Dozo-gun Information Center

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Restaurant and Cafe Shirakabe Club

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5. Join a Parade of Torches on Mt. Daisen

鳥取の霊峰・大山で日本の神事を体験!神秘的な「たいまつ行列」参加レポート

Picture from The Magnificent Parade Of Torches On Mount Daisen, Tottori

Mount Daisen, located in western Tottori, is the venue of the Mount Daisen Summer Opening Festival every June. A traditional Parade of Torches is held as part of this festival.

年に1回しか見られない火の川! 鳥取の神秘的な「大山夏山開き祭り」

Picture from The Magnificent Parade Of Torches On Mount Daisen, Tottori

The Parade of Torches is an event in which prayers are offered for the safety of those climbing Mount Daisen. About 2,000 people carrying torches join in the procession, and together they slowly descend the 800 meter-long stone-paved steps.

年に1回しか見られない火の川! 鳥取の神秘的な「大山夏山開き祭り」

Picture from The Magnificent Parade Of Torches On Mount Daisen, Tottori

The Parade of Torches starts at Ogamiyama Shrine's Okunomiya, one of the sacred sites in the Chugoku Region. Okuninushi no Kami, the deity of prosperity and rich harvest who is also known for driving away evil spirits, is enshrined here.

The Parade of Torches begins at dusk. If you wish to simply visit the shrine, please do come before the procession starts.

If you wish to join this event, please get there as soon as possible and purchase a redeemable coupon. For full details please refer to the MATCHA article below. Watching this parade is precious experience that offers glimpses into the world of Japanese traditional beliefs.

Ōgamiyama Shrine Okunomiya

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6. Hiking in Tottori's Great Outdoors

大山

Photo by Pixta

The are several ways to enjoy the fabulous scenery of Mount Daisen. From spring until fall, visitors can enjoy hiking, cycling, horseback riding, and camping. In the winter, ski and snowboard enthusiasts can have a great time at Daisen White Resort, one of Japan's largest snow resorts.

大山

Photo by Pixta

Moreover, Mount Daisen offers many scenic spots. One of the best places to visit during the spring and fall is Masumizu Kogen, often referred to as the "heavenly resort". From its observation deck, which lies at 900 meters altitude, you get an all encompassing view of Mount Daisen.

桝水高原の展望台

Picture from The Tottori Daisen Tour - From Fine Cuisine To Museums

Masumizu Kogen is famously known as a sacred spot for lovers. If you visit here with your partner, do take a photo together in front of the monument.

Daisen

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7. See Exquisite Art at the Sand Museum

From Osaka To Tottori By Bus - A 2-Day Itinerary And Local Delights

Picture from Discover The Irresistible Charm Of Tottori City! A Two-Day Itinerary From Osaka

The Sand Museum is located right near the Tottori Sand Dunes. The world's first museum of its kind, it features extraordinary exhibits of sand sculptures.

The museum is filled with extremely elaborate works of art. These are precious pieces that can't be found anywhere else.

From Osaka To Tottori By Bus - A 2-Day Itinerary And Local Delights

Picture from Discover The Irresistible Charm Of Tottori City! A Two-Day Itinerary From Osaka

The sand sculptures at the Sand Museum are temporary. After being torn down, they are replaced with new works of art each year. This way, the art on display continues to be fresh and appealing.

From Osaka To Tottori By Bus - A 2-Day Itinerary And Local Delights

Picture from Discover The Irresistible Charm Of Tottori City! A Two-Day Itinerary From Osaka

The theme of the main exhibition changes annually, but in recent years the theme has been "TRAVEL AROUND THE WORLD WITH SAND". In 2020, the exhibits at the Sand Museum are showcasing the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Sand Museum

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8. Savor Tasty Seafood at Sakaiminato

境港水産物直売センター

Picture from Tour The Sakai Fishing Port - Delicious Seafood And Fun Workshops!

Sakaiminato, a city famous for its fishing port, is located in western Tottori.

The catch of wild tuna and red queen crab in Sakaiminato is number one in Japan. The red queen crab, raised in the rough waters of the Sea of Japan, has firm flesh and a rich flavor.

境漁港

Picture from Tour The Sakai Fishing Port - Delicious Seafood And Fun Workshops!

At the Sakai Fishing Port, visitors can watch a fish auction up close (Sakai Fish Market Tour). This is a precious experience that allows you to witness the fish brokers' boundless enthusiasm and skill.

境漁港

Picture from Tour The Sakai Fishing Port - Delicious Seafood And Fun Workshops!

During the Sakai Fish Market Tour, which includes the fish auction, visitors can also see the fish being unloaded. This is a rare opportunity that usually is not available on other fish market tours.

The sight of huge nets full of fish being unloaded from the fishing vessel into the truck is truly impressive.

大漁市場なかうら

Picture from Tour The Sakai Fishing Port - Delicious Seafood And Fun Workshops!

At the Tairyo Fish Market Nakaura, they sell various goods including Tottori brand-name confectionery and snacks made with marine products.

If you're visiting around lunchtime, try the original dish called kani toro don (a bowl of rice topped with crab and ground Chinese yam) at the neighboring Restaurant Yumigahama.

Sakaiminato Fishing Association

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Tairyo Fish Market Nakaura

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store

9. Shoji Ueda Museum of Photography - Feel Nature and Art

植田正治写真美術館

Picture from The Tottori Daisen Tour - From Fine Cuisine To Museums

The Shoji Ueda Museum of Photography features artwork by photographer Shoji Ueda (1913-2000). He is considered a great master of photographs that are both poetic and filled with a sense of story.

Born in Tottori's Sakaiminato, he often took pictures of nature in Tottori and local children.

植田正治写真美術館

Picture from The Tottori Daisen Tour - From Fine Cuisine To Museums

The Shoji Ueda Museum of Photography is a museum filled with a sense of entertainment and playfulness.

One exhibit features a view of Mount Daisen framed by concrete walls over a reflective pool of water, almost as if the iconic peak itself were a photograph (see photo above).

Inspired by the famous "Mt. Fuji Upside Down", the museum offers its own interesting version called "Mt. Daisen Upside Down".

Shoji Ueda Museum of Photography

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museum

10. Gazing at the Most Beautiful Night Skies

鳥取の星空

Picture courtesy of Tottori Prefecture

Tottori, a region with beautiful nature, is known for its fresh, clear air. The Milky Way is visible from all of its cities and towns. In a poll conducted by Japan's Environment Ministry, it ranked number one in the country as a place for stargazing.

There are beautiful stargazing spots all around Tottori. For example, if you come to the Tottori Sand Dunes, you can fully enjoy the stars in what feels like a completely different kind of world.

三朝温泉

Picture from Japan's Most Beautiful Starry Sky! Night Tours And Lodgings In Tottori

Misasa Onsen in Kurayoshi, located in the prefecture's central region, is an extremely popular destination for hot spring holidays. In the summertime, you can spot fireflies in nearby Misasa River area.

Wouldn't it be wonderful to gaze at beautiful stars and fireflies at leisure?

Misasa Onsen

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Fascinating Tottori: Destinations for Manga Lovers, too!

Tottori is also the ideal place to visit for manga (comic book) lovers. At the Gosho Aoyama Manga Factory, visitors can immerse in the world of the popular manga Detective Konan.

There is also the Mizuki Shigeru Road in Sakaiminato, featuring the manga artist who created the ghost and goblin manga GeGeGe No Kitaro.

For more details, check our collection of articles on the charms of Tottori.

Written by Kazuma Takahashi
Sponsored by Tottori Prefecture

Main image courtesy of Tottori Prefecture

The information presented in this article is based on the time it was written. Note that there may be changes in the merchandise, services, and prices that have occurred after this article was published. Please contact the facility or facilities in this article directly before visiting.

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