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July 8, 2015 - Tottori City - Tottori Prefecture
Tottori city is easily over 6 hours from Tokyo via express train and Shinkansen and life is much slower here than the major cities in Kanto and Kansai. Even though there are no 'must see' sights in Tottori, there is still plenty to see in this out of the way prefecture.
As I was previously in Kinosaki Onsen, I needed to catch a local train to Tottori which took around 2 hours along the San-in line. There was also a change of trains in Hamasaka. Do note that there are not that many trains along the San-in line due to a small population and the line being a single line.
More detailed map: https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=zp0MtAJdtIro.kxeafFLd0Sjg&usp=sharing
It looks like I have done a lot today - but I'll explain something later which means it's less than what it looks. For today, I visited the following in this order:
(1) Uradome Coast
(2) Tottori Sand Museum
(3) Tottori Sand Dunes
(4) Tottori Prefectural Museum
(6) Kozenji Temple
(7) Omiya Pond
(8) Tottori Toshogu Shrine
(9) Kannonin Temple
One of the good things about Tottori is even though the main sites are spread out - the tourist bureau notices this and offers a 1000 yen (per person) taxi for 3 hours. As such, I first visited the Uradome Coast through a 40 minute boat ride for a discounted 1000 yen (you get a discount card with the taxi). It's around 30 minutes by taxi to the boat.
Taxi Info: http://tottrip.jp/transport/taxi/e_taxi/1000yentaxi.html?lang=en
As you can see - the view is rather spectacular and the water is also quite clear. On a sunny day - the water would be a beautiful clear blue colour.
The Tottori Sand Museum is roughly 10 minutes drive from the Uradome Coast and costs 600 yen to enter. Every year - they choose a country to focus on. Until the end of 2015 - they have an exhibition on Germany.
Around a 2 minute drive from the sand museum is the actual Sand Dunes. For me - they were not that spectacular but I have been to Morocco. Below is a photo of what I've seen to give you a comparison.
A 10-15 minute drive from the sand dunes is the start of the area around the Castle Ruins. My first visit was to Jinpukaku which is an old French style home where the old Showa Emperor lived for a couple of months. It costs a discounted 150 yen with the discount card you get from the taxi.
A 1 minute walk from the last location is the Tottori Prefectural Museum which costs 180 yen to enter and tells you the story of the land, animals and some paintings in Tottori. It's reasonably interesting but photos are only allowed in the nature section of the museum. Do note that there is a good cafe here that completes some rather good meals such as what can be seen below.
A 7 minute walk from the museum is Kozenji temple that has a nice garden where you can have some tea. For me - I much preferred here than Kannon-in temple and it's not because of the price. It costs 100 yen to enter with tea and sweets.
Another 5 or 6 minute walk away is Tottori Toshogu Shrine. When I got here - I was expecting a long walk (I've had lots of experience with this) but was happy to see that it's only around 4-5 minutes from the entrance itself.
Another 5 minute walk from the shrine is Omiya pond. As I've stated for numerous things - it's nothing spectacular but does make a nice walk (albeit it was a little soggy yesterday).
Just across from the entrance from the shrine is the Tottori Prefectural History Museum. It normally costs 300 yen to enter but seemed to be free with the taxi card today. Even though this museum is quite interactive - you need a strong understanding of Japanese so I would definitely give this one a miss.
For my last stop for the day, I visited Kannon-in temple which costs 500 yen to enter (includes tea and sweet) but had to wait a long time for someone just to show up to get in. It's rather nice but as mentioned before I preferred the other temple than this one.
It's an odd thing to say - but I wish I had more time in Tottori prefecture as there seems to be quite a bit to do which is more up my alley than just looking at temple after temple (Kyoto/Kamakura). But alas - my time is limited and I'll be catching quite a few trains tomorrow to Wakayama.
One of my posts (probably) will be of Wakayama city and another one will be a little bit of a surprise which is slightly off even the Japanese tourist trail.
1000 Yen Taxi (English): http://www.torican.jp/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/b67e8db7c404ff91220618e3f1882b50.pdf
Things to do in Tottori (English): http://www.city.tottori.lg.jp/top/multilang/English/sightseeing/kanko_en.html