Tottori is the capital city of the identically named Tottori Prefecture, which is situated along the northern border of the country flush with the Sea of Japan. Opportunities for adventure abound in Tottori, whether you’re looking to tempt your taste buds with a unique local curry and tasty sake or scale your way to Mt Daisen’s summit. History comes alive when you visit some of the local temples, and you may just walk away a bit luckier than when you arrived if you wish for it just right. If you’re feeling intrigued, get yourself into trip planning mode and check out more of these things to do in Tottori, Japan.
1. Take a camel-back ride through the Tottori Sand Dunes
The Tottori Sand Dunes are the largest set of dunes in all of Japan and encompass approximately 9.9 miles (16 km) of coastline just outside of the city. The dunes provide visitors with a plethora of ways to spend time, from sandboarding (think snowboarding but on sand) and paragliding to enjoying the view of the Sea of Japan from the very crests of the dunes. Camelback rides are also available through the dunes, making for a unique way to see these millennia-old sands.
Tottori Sand Dunes
Address: 2164-661 Fukubecho Yuyama, Tottori, 689-0105, Japan
Website: Tottori Sand Dunes
Opening hours: March - Nov: 9:30am - 4:30pm (daily); Dec - Feb: 10am - 4pm (daily)
Price: 12.27 USD
2. Paddle your way around the Uradome Coast
The rugged coastline of the Uradome Coast is an area of Tottori you simply must explore while visiting the area. Uradome is located within the Sanin Kaigan National Park and stretches along the waters for just over 9 miles (15 km). There are several ways to explore the area, including hiking, snorkeling and taking a boat cruise, but perhaps the best is by renting a kayak, many of which are glass-bottomed, allowing you to see the blue depths beneath you. A kayak also allows you easier access to some of the shallow coves of the area.
Address: Uradome, Iwami, Iwami District, Tottori 681-0003, Japan
3. Check out the sand sculptures in The Sand Museum
While the beautiful sand dunes of Tottori were created by nature over thousands of years, the producers of The Sand Museum wanted to create beauty out of sand, but in a man-made fashion. This museum has been open since 2012 and is the only museum of its kind in the world. As the sculptures are made of only sand, each one is not a permanent exhibit as they all will eventually collapse; however, new sculptures will be made as time passes, allowing you to see a variety of masterpieces if you happen to make multiple visits over time.
The Sand Museum
Address: 2083-17 Fukubecho Yuyama, Tottori, 689-0105, Japan
Website: The Sand Museum
Opening hours: Sun - Fri: 9am - 6pm; Sat: 9am - 8pm
Price: 5.66 USD
4. Walk among the ruins of Tottori Castle
While it is unknown the exact year Tottori Castle was constructed, the history we do have recorded for the castle is quite colorful. The castle is perhaps best-known for the 200-day siege held upon it in 1581, where the troops within were starved into submission. Today, the castle is in a state of ruin after the Meiji Restoration of 1868; what remains includes some stone walls and well, a moat and a restored gate. These grounds are beautiful and perfect for exploration!
Address: 2 Higashi-machi, Tottori, Japan
5. Try Oenokian's famous pink curry
When traveling to new locales, one great way to get the most complete experience is to try the dishes that are well known in the area. One such dish of Tottori is the pink curry available at Oenokicho. The color is derived from beets raised by local farmers and is meant to portray “curry for a lady in a beautiful dress”. Don’t let the color fool you though, as this dish is plenty spicy! If your taste buds are on board, be sure to stop by and try a sample.
Address: Tottori, Tottori, Oenokicho 3-3
Opening hours: 11:30am - 9pm (daily)
6. Wander through the spacious Jinpūkaku mansion
The Jinpūkaku mansion stands out architecturally among Japanese buildings with its French Renaissance style, making it an interesting place to stop in at while visiting Tottori. Originally built in 1907, the mansion was designed by Tōkuma Katayama, who was one of the first Japanese architects to design Western-style buildings in the country. Today the structure is open to the public as a museum that you can walk through and enjoy the lovely design, especially that of the spiral staircase that was unique to the time period.
Address: 2-121 Higashimachi, Tottori-shi, Tottori-ken, 680-0011
Opening hours: 9am - 5pm (daily)
Price: 1.41 USD
7. Get your coffee fix at Sunaba Coffee
Whether you’re one of those people that has caffeinated blood in their veins or just like the occasional brew, you’ll want to check out Sunaba Coffee, one of the best coffee shops in Tottori. Sunaba has several locations within Tottori, making it a convenient choice no matter where you’re at in town. Similar in concept to a Starbucks, Sunaba offers guests a selection of coffee products, in addition to various breakfast and lunch items as well. Be sure to stop in for a quick pick-me-up!
Address: 706番地 Sakaemachi, Tottori, 680-0831, Japan
Website: Sunaba Coffee
Opening hours: 7:30am - 7:30pm (daily)
8. Visit Hakuto Shrine to improve your romantic luck
Pay a visit to the Hakuto Shrine, and you’ll not only get to see fantastic views of the coastline, but you may just get to improve your romantic luck as well. The lore of the shrine includes stories about both a rabbit, which you will see depictions of on the grounds, as well as a large family of sons, all looking to wed a beautiful princess; the son kindest to the rabbit won the princess’s heart, thus ending what is considered to be the first love story in Japan’s vast collection of myths. Leave a token for the rabbit, and you may find your romantic endeavors successful.
Address: 603 Hakuto, Tottori-shi, Tottori 689-0206
Website: Hakuto Shrine
9. Enjoy picturesque cherry blossoms by night at Shikanojoseki Park
Springtime in Japan can really only mean one thing: enjoying the blooming of the cherry blossoms. There are many places within Tottori you could see these beautiful flowering trees, but perhaps the best is within Shikanojoseki Park. The park is on the grounds of an old castle and runs along the banks of the Asahi River, with these banks being where most of the trees are located. You’ll find that the park turns truly magical at night, when the lights come on beneath the trees, casting an illuminating scene in the limbs above. Strolling the park at night is a great way to end a fun-filled day in Tottori.
Address: Japan, 〒689-0405 Tottori
10. Soak in the relaxing waters of Hawai Onsen
Located on the western shoreline of Lake Togo, Hawai Onsen is a resort that sits over a hot spring, making for a relaxing treat for visitors. The resort features a number of outdoor tubs you can soak in, all with beautiful views of the lake to enjoy as you do so. There are also several footbaths available for use to visitors at no cost. Be sure to stop by if you fancy a relaxing soak!
Address: Yurihama, Tohaku District, Tottori 682-0715, Japan
11. Make your own lampshade at Aoya Japanese Paper Workshop
Crafting using washi paper is a local practice that has been perfected over many years and is used to make a variety of paper products. When visiting the workshop, you can learn more about this long history as well as the process the paper goes through to make it to products you may be familiar with, from tree bark to the finished product. In the workshop, you’ll work through many of these steps yourself and leave with your own handmade souvenir. Before you leave, be sure to stop by the gift shop for more fun products to bring home with you.
Aoya Japanese Paper Workshop
Address: 313 Aoyacho Yamane, Tottori, 689-0514, Japan
Website: Aoya Japanese Paper Workshop
Opening hours: Tue - Sun: 9am - 5pm (closed on Mon)
Price: 4.70 USD
12. Enjoy freshly caught red snow crabs from Sakaiminato Seafood Direct Sale Center
There is plenty that Japan is well known for, and delicious, fresh snow crabs is certainly one of them. For the freshest snow crabs in town, you’ll definitely want to check out a fish market, with one of the best ones being Sakaiminato Seafood Direct Sale Center. The market only sells what was caught early that morning, guaranteeing you only purchase the freshest seafood around. Other seafood available is season dependent, with options including salmon, tuna, oysters and squid.
Sakaiminato Seafood Direct Sale Center
Address: 9-5 Showamachi, Sakaiminato, Tottori 684-0034, Japan
Opening hours: Wed - Mon: 8am - 4pm (closed on Tue)
13. Drive up the incredibly engineered Eshima Ohashi Bridge
For sightseeing of a different sort, be sure to make the drive to, and over, Eshima Ohashi Bridge. As soon as you see the bridge, you’re sure to feel the pull to drive over it at least once, even if you had no previous plans to visit Shimane, which lies on the other side. Bridge construction began in 1997 and was completed in 2004, making this rigid-frame bridge the largest of its kind in Japan, and the third-largest in the entire world! With stats like that, you can’t pass up the chance to check it out while in Tottori.
Eshima Ohashi Bridge
Address: Connection between Matsue, Shimane Prefecture and Sakaiminato, Tottori Prefecture over Nakaumi Lake
Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)
14. Check out the manga statues along Mizuki Shigeru Road
For those who enjoy mangas, you’ll certainly want to add a stop on Mizuki Shigeru Road to your Tottori itinerary. All along the street, you’ll find various statues depicting characters from the manga author Mizuki Shigeru, as well as related shops all up and down the street. Be sure to take pictures with your favorite characters and stop by the sake brewery that also happens to be located on the street.
Mizuki Shigeru Road
Address: Taishomachi, Sakaiminato, Tottori 684-0004, Japan
Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)
15. Try the best local sake at Chiyomusubi Okasora Honten
Sake is a rice wine that is Japanese in origin, and a drink that should be experienced during your excursion to Japan. The Chiyomusubi brewery is one of the only sake producers in the area and as such, they have their own retail store where you can buy several different sakes to try. The retail store also has a great gift shop inside, perfect for buying souvenirs to buy for loved ones back home.
Chiyomusubi Okasora Honten
Address: 131 Taishomachi, Sakaiminato, Tottori 684-0004, Japan
Website: Chiyomusubi Okasora Honten
Opening hours: 10am - 4:30pm (daily)
16. Enjoy the view from the top of YumeMinato Tower
For a view, even the birds would appreciate, be sure to plan a visit to YumeMinato Tower while in Tottori. The tower stands a whopping 141 feet (43 meters) tall, giving its visitors a great view of the Sea of Japan as well as Mt. Daisen from the viewing platform. After you’ve checked out the view and snapped a few photos, head down to the tower’s fourth-floor restaurant, where you can dine while still enjoying the remarkable views of the sea.
Address: 255-3 Takenouchidanchi, Sakaiminato, Tottori 684-0046, Japan
Website: YumeMinato Tower
Opening hours: 9am - 5pm (daily)
Price: 2.82 USD
17. Hike to the mountaintop temple of Mitokusan Sanbutsuji
If you visit only one temple during your time in Tottori, make sure you travel up to the beautiful Mitokusan Sanbutsuji. The temple is rather unique, and upon arrival, you’ll easily see why. Mitokusan Sanbutsuji is built within the mountain, in an opening in the rock. It is said that construction of the temple was made possible by the spiritual power of the temple’s founder, though it is unknown the precise date in which the temple was built. The road ascending to the temple is rocky and steep, but you’ll find it well worth your effort once you’ve reached your destination.
Address: 1010 Mitoku, Misasa, Tōhaku District, Tottori 682-0132, Japan
Website: Mitokusan Sanbutsuji
Opening hours: 8am - 3pm (daily)
Price: 7.51 USD
18. Stay at Kizukuri no Yado Hashizuya and soak in the hot spring baths
You’ll no doubt find that your getaway to Tottori has you out and about from early in the morning to long after the sun has set. And while this is certainly the best way to see everything there is to see, you’ll likely return to your lodging at the end of the day in need of a bit of relaxation. If you planned ahead and booked your stay at Kizukuri no Yado Hashizuy, then you’re in luck - each evening, you’ll be able to soak in one of the hot spring baths, which will have you rejuvenated and ready for the next day’s explorations!
Kizukuri no Yado Hashizuya
Address: 682-0123 Tottori, Misasa, Misasa 886, Japan
19. Eat your fill of beef ramen at Ramen Kohga
It’s time to try the more delicious local fare, this time the well-known ramen at Ramen Kohga. Beef ramen is the prominent offering at this restaurant, with a total of three varieties available, all of which are lovingly made over 20+ hours. Other dishes are available for you to try as well, including fried chicken and stewed beef steaks. If you fall in love with the ramen, you can purchase some to take home with you before you head out to your next stop.
Address: 583-2 Yamane, Kurayoshi, Tottori 682-0023, Japan
Opening hours: Sun - Thu: 11am - 9pm; Fri - Sat: 11am - 11pm
20. Browse the anime figurine collection at the Kurayoshi Figure Museum
If you enjoyed strolling down Mizuki Shigeru Road, then you simply must check out the Kurayoshi Figure Museum, where you can find miniature versions of many well-known anime characters! Located within an old elementary school, this museum features a permanent exhibit hall full of these figurines, as well as several ever-changing temporary exhibits, information for which can be found on the museum’s website. One of the top contributors to exhibits is the Good Smile Company, which is well-known within the Japanese community for their production of these collectible figurines.
Kurayoshi Figure Museum
Address: 1 Chome-2971-2 Kajimachi, Kurayoshi, Tottori 682-0864, Japan
Website: Kurayoshi Figure Museum
Opening hours: 9am - 6pm (daily)
Price: 9.39 USD
Get ready to take off to Tottori
From shopping to shrines and feasting to relaxing in a spring bath, Tottori has a little bit of something for everyone. If you plan on visiting soon, use these ideas for things to do as your jumping-off point for a fantastic visit to Tottori, Japan!
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