29 November, 2018

[TRAVEL] 10 Best Things to Do in Tottori, Japan


Welcome to Japan’s biggest sand dunes, coolest Detective Conan town and largest crab producer – 
all in Tottori Prefecture!

Where is Tottori?
Tottori is a coastal prefecture located on the west side of Japan, right above Okayama Prefecture. Despite of being the least populous prefecture among all 47 prefectures in Japan, Tottori is yet another exciting destination worth exploring for 2 or 3 days.

If you recall from my previous post, we spend a good 3 days in Okayama Prefecture before continuing our journey to Tottori:
Day 1: Kurashiki City (倉敷), Okayama (Blog: Click HERE)
Day 2: Maniwa City (真庭), Okayama (Blog: Click HERE)
Day 3: Okayama City (岡山), Okayama (Blog: Click HERE)

In Tottori Prefecture, we manage to explore 90% of it including the following areas:
→ Tohaku District (東伯郡)
→ Kurayoshi City (倉吉市)
→ Sakaiminato City (境港市)
→ Tottori City (鳥取市)

Here’s my 2 full days itinerary in Tottori Prefecture for your reference:

Day 1: Hokuei (北栄町) Town, Kurayoshi City (倉吉市) and Sakaiminato City (境港市), Tottori Prefecture
→ Gosho Aoyama Conan Manga Factory (青山刚昌故乡馆)
→ Kurayoshi Old Town (倉吉白土墙倉房群 / 红色瓦屋)
→ Lunch: Seisui-an (清水庵) in Kurayoshi
→ Sakaiminato Fish Market (境港海鲜中心)
→ Mizuki Shigeru Road (水木茂街)
→ Gegege no Kitaro Museum (鬼太郎纪念馆)
→ Dinner and accommodation: Kaike Grand Hotel Ten Sui (皆生饭店天水)

Day 2: Iwami District (岩美町) and Tottori City (鳥取市), Tottori Prefecture
→ Tottori Sand Dunes (鳥取砂丘)
→ Tottori Sand Museum (砂之美术馆)
→ Lunch: Ajiroya Boat Dock Restaurant
→ Uradome Coast Excursion Boat (浦富海岸遊覧船)
→ Watanabe Art Museum (渡邉美术馆)
→ Dinner: Hanoren (花Noren本店)
→ Shopping at Don Quijote Discount Store
→ Accommodation: Washington Plaza Hotel (华盛顿 Plaza)

Day 3: Goodbye Tottori!

How to go to Tottori:
By train: 2.5 hours from Osaka via Super Hakuto Express Train
By plane: 1.1 hours from Haneda Airport, Tokyo to Tottori Sakyu Conan Airport

Transportation within Tottori City:
Tottori City Tourist Taxi
Duration: 3 hours
Operating Hours: 8.30am - 5.30pm daily
Fee: 2000 yen per adult / Free for children under 13
Pick-up point: Tottori City International Tourist Information Centre (鳥取市国際観光客支援中心)
(1 minute walk from JR Tottori Station North Gate)

*One car can fit 4 persons
*Additional fare applies upon exceeding 3 hours.

Specifically in Tottori City, there is a special deal to attract more foreign tourists. You can hop onto a taxi and visit several tourist spots in Tottori City at only 2,000 yen per person. Routes are fully customizable – you can choose where you want to go in that 3 hours!

For example, 3 hours is sufficient for you to visit Uradome Coast, Tottori Sand Museum and Tottori Sand Dunes (see more about these attractions later in this post). The final drop-off point can be anywhere in Tottori City (don’t have to return to the Tourist Info Centre).

I personally find this tourist taxi extra useful and reasonably priced for tourists like us! Especially for me who can’t speak Japanese, I am so happy that Tottori City Tourist Info Centre is certified by JNTO as “Category 2 – English always available” – meaning there is an English-speaking person always available at the counter to attend to you!

10 Places to Visit in Tottori Prefecture
 1. Detective Conan’s Town and Museum

Gosho Aoyama Manga Factory
1414, Yurashuku, Hokuei, Tohaku District, Tottori Prefecture, 689-2221 Japan.
Phone: +81 858-37-5389
How to get there: 20 minutes walk from Yura Station

Opening Hours: 9.30am - 5.30pm daily
Admission Fee: 700 yen per adult / 500 yen per students / 
300 yen for children below 12

Are you a fan of Detective Conan manga series? Yes? Then you gotta visit the hometown of creator of this famous manga in Hokuei Town aka Conan Town. It is so cool that the government has decided to name a town after a manga artist!

Even the train station and local airport have elements of Conan at every corner, how amazing!

In the Conan museum, we see a full collection of original Conan manga drawings, interactive mystery games and recreations of famous gadgets used by Conan such as the voice manipulator etc. The work and life history of the artist are displayed here too.

Don’t forget to drop by the souvenir shop and buy some Conan original items home because you can’t find them anywhere else in Japan!

2. Kurayoshi’s Ancient Storehouses and 100-year-old Restaurant

Kurayoshi Shirakabe Storehouses (White Wall District)
(倉吉白土墙倉房群 / 红色瓦屋)
Kurayoshi 682-0021, Tottori Prefecture, Japan.

How to get there: 
Take “Park Square” bus from Kurayoshi Station and get down at “Shirakabe-dozogun” (20 minutes ride)

To experience how a traditional Japanese town feels like, take a stroll through the old-time elegance along the rows of traditional white-walled warehouses built during the Edo and Meiji eras.

The town formerly known for its breweries and soy sauce distilleries is now Japan’s Traditional Architecture Preservation District. It is now an ancient town full of temples, pear museum, parks, souvenir shops and local shops for bamboo crafts, soy sauce, pottery, kites, ceramic arts and traditional weaving.

 Seisui-an (清水庵) Restaurant
1-876 Sakaemachi, Kurayoshi 682-0885, Tottori Prefecture, Japan.
Business Hours: 11am - 2pm (Lunch) / 5.30pm - 9pm (Dinner)

How to get there:
35 minute walk from Kurayoshi Station on Sanin Main Line

Among the storehouses in Kurayoshi, we have spotted a famous 100-year-old mochi restraurant designed in traditional “Machiya” or wooden townhouse style.

Mochi Shabu (Meat ball, vegetable and 12 different flavors of mochi)

In Malaysia, the only mochi I eat is the round glutinous dessert ball type but little did I know that Kurayoshi has its very own unique version of “Mochi-shabu”, a type of Japanese steamboat with mochi.

Interestingly, each slice of mochi has different flavours (easily distinguished by color) such as mushroom, prawn and even blueberry! Tips of eating mochi: Dip it into the broth for 5-10 seconds and eat before it melts into sticky (very gluey texture) lumps!

3. Seafood Heaven: Sakaiminato Port and Fish Market

From Kurayoshi City (located at the central part of Tottori Prefecture), we headed west to Sakaiminato City, a port city facing the Japan Sea.

Sakai Port

Since Sakai Port, one of the most renowned fishing ports in Japan is located here, it is a must to visit Sakaiminato Fish Market for the freshest and most delicious seafood in town.

Sakaiminato Fish Market

Although people say Hokkaido is the most popular crab producer in Japan, do you know that Sakaiminato in Tottori produces the most crabs in Japan? Don't ask me how much they produce, but I see a lot (like seriously SO many!) of crabs in this fish market. They sell mainly "Matsuba Crab", Tottori's No.1 winter delicacy, and crab-related products.

Look how huge it is!

Only available from early November till mid March, we are lucky to savour these crabs later in the evening during dinner, and YES it is so sweet, fresh and filled with juicy, succulent meat! No wonder it is the pride of Japan.

4. “Yokai” Japanese Folklore Street

Mizuki Shigeru Road "GeGeGe no Kitaro" (鬼太郎) Street
Taishomachi, Sakaiminato City, Tottori Prefecture 684-0004, Japan.

How to get there:
❤ Take the Yokai Train which runs through Sakai Line, connecting JR Yonago Station and Sakaiminato Station. 

You'll be amazed by the wall of Yokai Train which is decorated with many yokai characters of Kitaro and friends. Each of the 15 stations has its name of yokai characters too. Now it feels like a fantasy being brought to live!

Food aside, Sakaiminato City becomes a tourist hot spot because you'll get to see a lot of demons in Japanese folklore called Yōkai here.

Creepy eh? Don't worry, they are probably the cutest ghosts I have ever seen! Named after the manga creator of "GeGeGe no Kitarō" (鬼太郎) who was born in Sakaiminato, Mizuki Shigeru Road is filled with 170 bronze Yōkai manga statues as well as manga-related shops, cafes, souvenirs and even Yokai Shrine.

Everything is literally all about Yokai here. The street is seriously super cool and interesting! The best time is when evening approaches and all the special light effects give a different face to the street.

5. Mizuki Shigeru Museum for Anime Lovers

Mizuki Shigeru Museum
5 Honmachi, Sakaiminato City, Tottori Prefecture, 684-0025 Japan.
Phone: +81 85-942-2171
Opening hours: 9.30am - 5pm daily
Admission fee: 300 yen for adult foreigner (700 yen for local)

How to get there:
❤ 10 minutes walk from Sakaiminato Station
❤ For easier access, rent a bicycle for free from the Information Desk.

*No parking lot near museum. You can park at JR Sakaiminato station or municipal Hinode and Taisyo parking lots.
*Free Wi-Fi is available.


Anime lovers must visit the Mizuki Shigeru Museum tucked along the same street. This 2-floor museum exhibits thousands of manga books, ghost-related masterpieces, photos of the writer’s adventures and his researches of demons’ world.

6. Japan’s No.1 Largest Sand Dunes

Tottori Sand Dunes (鳥取砂丘)
2164-661 Fukubecho Yuyama, Tottori City, Tottori Prefecture 689-0105, Japan.

How to get there:
❤ By taxi: 15 minutes from Tottori City Tourist Information Centre
❤ By bus: Take the “Sakyu” bus or Kirin-Jishi Loop Bus from Tottori Station Bus Terminal and get off at “Tottori Sakyu”

Tottori’s No.1 attraction is the sand dune. Formed over a period of 30,000 years, Tottori Sand Dunes is the largest sand dune in Japan, stretching 16km from east to west. The beautiful Fumon wave patterns created by the wind and Saren sand curtains formed by sand crumbling after rainfalls, are beautiful arts thanks to Mother Nature.

Yay, it’s my first time riding a camel! They also have paragliding and sandboarding activities here if you wanna enjoy the steep slopes of the dunes.

Thanks to our local guide, we actually go to a “secret” sand dune (5 minutes walk from the main tourist area) with lesser crowd and better photo opportunity.

When winter approaches, the sand dunes will be completely covered by snow, turning into a beautiful white snowy playground! So romantic right?

7. Travel the World in Sand!

Tottori Sand Museum (砂之美术馆)
2083-17 Yuyama, Fukube-cho, Tottori City.
Phone: +81 857-20-2231

Opening Hours: 9am - 6pm daily
Admission fee: 600 yen per adult / 300 yen per child
*Scan the QR code and enjoy the exhibition in 4 languages: Chinese, English, Korean, Japanese.

 Welcome to the world’s first indoor museum of sand sculptures! 

Unlike the usual museum, the sand sculptures exhibited here change every year based on themes. This year’s theme, “The Nordic Countries” running from 14 April 2018 till 6 January 2019 features icons in Northern Europe including Santa Claus, winter sports, Alfred Nobel and the Nobel Prize, Arctic bears, Denmark’s Egeskov Castle, The Vikings and more.

Can you believe that these gigantic sand sculptures take 3 months to build, including 3-week long carving process? Kudos to the carving experts from around the world for such great pieces of arts!

After exploring the 2-storey exhibition hall, we head to the observation walkway on the third floor which leads you to the Sand Dunes Lookout Point where we get to enjoy the panoramic view of sand dunes from far.

At 1pm everyday, there is a sand sculpture workshop open for public too. It is only 500 yen per pax for such valuable experience!

8. Boat Ride, Snorkelling and Fresh Seafood in Iwami Town

 Uradome Coast Island Boat Tour (浦富海岸遊覧船)
2182 Otani, Iwami Town, Tottori Prefecture, Japan.

Operating Hours: 9.10am - 4.10pm daily (boat runs every 30 minutes)
Tour duration: 40 minutes per round trip
Fee: 1,300 yen per adult / 650 yen per child

How to get there:
❤ By car: 10 minutes from Tottori Sand Dunes
❤ By bus: Take “Iwami-eki / Iwai Onsen Bus” from Tottori Station and get off at “Shimameguri Yuransen Noribamae” (40 minutes ride)

Uradome Coast is one of Japan’s 100 best coastlines that you must not miss! Think about the stunning cliffs, rocks and caverns shaped by winds and waves, and beautiful white sandy beaches lined with green pines along the coastline….. How can we not fall in love with this place?

During our 40-minute boat tour, we are totally amazed by crystal clear sea water which clarity is visible up to a depth of 25 metre. Ideal for beach lovers and for snorkelling for its calm transparent water.

The only downside is, the boat tour is weather-dependent hence only runs from March till November.



Lunch at Ajiroya, Japanese seafood restaurant
Opening Hours: 11am - 2pm daily

Of course, even if you don’t get to go on a boat tour, please don’t miss out this boat dock restaurant named Ajiroya which serves the freshest specialty seafood dishes using local ingredients – Come and enjoy different local flavours for each season!

9. Experience the Samurai Spirit in Watanabe Art Museum

 Watanabe Art Museum (渡邉美术馆)
1-55-1 Kakuji Tsutsumishita, Tottori City 680-0003 Japan.
Phone: +81 857-24-1152
Website: www.watart.jp

Opening Hours: 10am - 5pm daily (Closed on Tuesdays, 29 - 31 Dec and 1 Jan) 
Admission Fee: 900 yen per adult (500 yen if you have the Sand Dune Museum ticket stub)

How to get there:
❤ By car: 10 minutes drive from Tottori Airport
❤ By bus: Take a bus for “Tottori Sakyu” from Tottori Station and get down at “Watanabe Bijutsukan Mae” (15 minutes ride)

For history and art lovers, Watanabe Art Museum is sure to impress you. It is home for more than 30,000 pieces of personal collection donated by Dr Hajime Watanabe, a psychiatrist who is a huge fan of Japanese art and tradition and spent 60+ years collecting them.

Taking its pride on the diversity of collection, this art museum features authentic antiques, paintings, calligraphy, ceramics, samurai armours, historic Asian arts and other smart Japanese daily goods such as tea ceremony tools, hair ornaments etc.

The variety of unique and rare armours is just mind-blowing! It not only displays the luxurious ones produced under the noble’s order but also the simple ones for common footsoldiers. Plus, some of them cannot be found anywhere else in Japan.

Can you feel the essence of Samurai spirit found in the beautiful suits of armour, Japanese swords and arms?

I know this sounds boring but I must share this with you! The museum guide makes the entire session so interactive and fun that I start to fall in love with the samurai costumes. Amazing experience!

Okay, here’s the boring part:

The designs and styles of samurai suits and arms vary according to the battle style and changes over time. Don’t belittle this essential battling article, it is a symbol of dignity to each warrior. I heard that the longer the “antenna” of the headpiece, the more superior the warrior is! The current market price of making an intricate set of costume like this easily costs more than 400,000 yen. Now you can imagine how much all the valuables cost in this museum….

I believe this is the only place where you can compare so many articles and feel the grand atmosphere. Although I am not quite an art person, I enjoy the experience here especially with the super friendly museum docent.

10. [BONUS!] Shopping at Don Quijote


This is a super famous and cool chain discount store available almost everywhere in Japan. It sells literally EVERYTHING – from fashion and beauty stuff to food and electronics. Happy to see such a huge outlet in Tottori City where we can shop till late midnight because it closes at 1am everyday!

Where to Stay in Tottori 

Kaike Grand Hotel Ten Sui (皆生饭店天水)
18-45-4 Kaikeonsen, Yonago, Tottori Prefecture 683-0001, Japan.
Phone: +81 859-33-3531

How to get there:
By car: 25 minutes from Yonago Airport / 15 minutes from Yonago Station

If you prefer a more relaxing stay by the sea with unlimited onsen experiences, the Tensui is a great option. Buffet breakfast and dinner here are excellent.



Love my room with sea view here!

Washington Plaza Hotel (华盛顿 Plaza)
102, Higashihonjicho, Tottori, Tottori Prefecture 680-0835, Japan
Phone: +81 857-27-8111
How to get there: 3 minutes walk from Tottori Station

For better accessibility and city experience, then the business-oriented Washington Plaza Hotel can offer a great experience. Nothing fancy, but the hotel is surrounded by several shopping malls and Tottori Station which are all less than 5 minutes walk away.


Note: A million thanks to Tottori Japan Tourism Board for sending me there!
Follow them on Instagram @tottoriawesome for the latest updates.
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