Guest writer: Natsumi Nambu
I’d like to start by telling you why I wrote this article. When people talk about Japan, which city do you think of first?
I guess most people would say Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka and Fukuoka, where the principal cities of the country lie. However, I want to introduce Tottori Prefecture to you. Although it is one of the lesser known prefectures of Japan, it has a lot of attractive spots and tasty local food.
As to why, I’m writing this article, Tottori is my hometown, I hope this will become an opportunity for you not only to get to know about the area but also inspire you to go there for yourself! I hope you will enjoy reading this!
- Population: 561,165 people (It is actually has the smallest population in all of the prefectures in Japan. The population is 1/24 compared to Tokyo!)
- Location: Tottori is in western Japan and occupies the east side of the Sanin district (Tottori Prefecture & Shimane Prefecture) in the Chugoku It is adjacent to Okayama Prefecture and Hiroshima Prefecture (Sanyo district) across the mountains in the south.
There are countless tourism spots, I will introduce two spots I regularly recommend.
Tottori Sand Dunes
Speaking of Tottori, the Tottori Sand Dune is the most famous tourism spot in the area. It is designated as the only natural monument of its kind in the country, as it is a huge coastal dune spreading 16km east and west, and 2.4km north and south. Wind ripples and sand columns made by the natural phenomenon are amazingly beautiful, enough to blow visitors away. However, it is not only an attraction to look at! You can also experience other activities such as having a ride on camels backs or stopping by the Sand Art Museum established nearby.
I highly recommend this as the best place in Tottori! Pure white sand beaches, clear seawaters, rocky areas with distinctive shapes and more… everything is perfect. It is a place that leaves you lost for words with its superb woven by nature. It is known as the Sanin Coast Geopark, and has a magnificent marine landform shaped by the waves of the Sea of Japan. During the summer, you can enjoy swimming in Uradome beach! It has high quality beach, and many people who children to adults come and enjoy it every year.
Sumo <Tottori JOHOKU High School>
This high school has one of the Japanese high school’s best Sumo clubs. Most students who start here go on to enter universities that have strong Sumo teams or go on to the next stage of professional Sumo player after graduating. Additionally, they are not only managing male wrestlers, but also focusing on the development of female wrestlers. A woman who is the only female coach in Japan leads it with great passion. The training is severe enough that it is hard to believe that it is a high school’s training club. On the other hand, individual technical guidance is said to be polite and detailed.
Speaking of Sumo wrestling, Chanko Nabe is known as the daily meal for Sumo wrestlers. There are two kinds of soup used in making it, seafood base and chicken base. The main ingredients are meat, fish and vegetables. So simple! The head coach at Johoku high school’s Sumo wrestling club also manages a Chanko restaurant as well. It is worth giving it a try!
In fact, Tottori has the most(?) landing of Matsuba crabs in Japan. Crab is one of the typical tastes of Tottori in winter. You can enjoy tasting various dishes, such as sashimi, boiled crab, grilled crab and crab soup.
Tottori Shan Shan Festival
This festival is distinguished by the summer traditional umbrella dance, where dancers swing umbrellas with bells attached to the tip. It makes a beautiful sound. With more than 4,000 people dancing with umbrellas all at once is also beautiful and artistic.
There are many delicious local food and great spots that I can’t fit into a single article. I know you might like big cities like Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto, but if you ever get the chance to get out to the countryside regions like Tottori, I can’t recommend it enough. Travel destinations like these will add great variety to your trip and give you a different perspective of Japan’s charms.