Tottori Travel Guide 鳥取
The view of Tottori from the castle ruins
Jinpukaku House in Tottori
A statue of Inaba-no-shirousagi
Located on the edge of wilderness, Tottori, a rural and unpretentious city, is ideal for discovering a more natural and traditional Japan.
This city located on the coast of San-in, the northernmost island of Honshu, takes its name from an ancient civilisation who settled at the foot of Mt. Kyusho, northeast of the current city. At the mouth of the Sendai River, urban space has gradually expanded there over the centuries.
In 1532 a castle, today in ruins, was built by a noble of the city. During the Edo period, the city passed into the hands of the Ikeda, a prosperous clan. Finally, at the dawn of the Meiji era, the castle was destroyed, deemed unnecessary by the new authorities. The spot it once stood is still appreciated today for its cherry trees during hanami season.
In 1907, a western-style mansion was built at the foot of the mountain to replace the fortress. This Jinpukaku house was the first in the city to be equipped with electricity. Today it's both a communal space and a museum that traces the history of the Ikeda clan and the town.
Wakasa Street, running from the station to Mount Kyushu, resembles Nawate Shimio street in Matsue, its charms worthy of nineteenth century Japan. Feel free to wander this road to the castle ruins.
In the same way that we watch the red leaves, Tottori residents, themselves, watch out for nashi, asian pears, come fall. Nashigari (pear picking) is a common activity practiced in the fields around the city on some of the farms. Like the pears of Okayama, Tottori has some very tasty ones too. Don't hesitate to try them in one of the many desserts available in the area made using this specialty.
Mountains and Wonders
Tottori is a true gateway to the hinterland and its natural parks, which occupy no less than 15% of the total area of the prefecture. Mount Daisen Park, the coast of Radome, Utsubuki park, Yonago Bird Park, but especially Tottori's sand dunes in the beautiful San'in Kaigan Geopark are among the main attractive points of the region.
A few kilometers to the northwest there is Misasa, a pleasant onsen spa town, but more noteworthy for Nageire-do Temple in Sanbutsu-ji, literally hanging over a cliff.Hakuto Shrine, to the west of the city, is dedicated to the god Inaba-no-shirousagi. According to legend, the little white rabbit who lived on the Oki islands wanted to join the main island of Honshu, but was too small for such a big journey. He had the idea to trick the sharks that lived in the sea, asking them to line up so he could count them and compare their number to the rabbits. As he pretended to count them, he jumped from one back to the next, eventually reaching Honshu. But he couldn't help gloating over having tricked the sharks as he reached the end. Suddenly aware of the mockery the rabbit had made of them, the sharks attacked him for revenge, biting at his fur. A dying Inaba-no-shirousagi still reached the beach where he met the god Hakuto Okuninushi. He advised the rabbit to swim in the cool clear water of a pond and dry in the reeds. Inaba-no-shirousagi followed his advice, healed his fur and became a god. He is still honored today at this fairly well-known shrine in the region.