Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Tottori: 1-Day Itinerary

We did a day trip to Tottori and it was more fun than we expected. At the tourist centre at JR Tottori Station, you can rent a taxi for 3 hours for 1000 yen per person if you show a foreign passport. It says that you should reserve ahead of time to guarantee a driver but it is possible to just walk-in.

We didn't need the taxi to get around but we thought we would try our luck. When we entered, there was a group of tourists who were travelling together and the employees at the tourist centre were so occupied with them that they did not even regard us. Until I asked where the queue actually was (since everyone was standing in clumps), did someone talk to me. His answer was, "We can't help you right now, we're very busy. Please just wait."

Tottori Sand Dunes
After waiting a few more minutes and not seeing any progress, we grabbed a few maps and left. Most importantly, we got a copy of the Loop Kirinjishi Bus schedule which stops at most of the sightseeing spots in Tottori. A day pass cost 600 yen per person.

Entrance to Tottori Sand Museum
There was a station just outside the JR station and we took it to the Tottori Sand Museum. It cost 600 yen to enter and is only open April to early January of each year because January through March/April is when they build the structures for next year's display.

The theme for this year was Germany and there were many symbolic sand structures from German castles to Einstein to Brother Grimm stories. I recognized Neuschwanstein Castle which I had the fortune of visiting this past June. Each work of art was detailed and amazing to look at. Be sure to go up to the second floor so you can see the work in its entirety because on the ground level you miss some of the details that you're not tall enough to see.

Featuring Neuschwanstein Castle in the middle

Next, it was a short walk from the sand museum to the famous Tottori Sand Dunes. There were camel rides here but most people opted to walk. I was glad I went in autumn because I cannot even imagine how hot it would be in the summer. It was quite difficult to walk up the steep slope to see the Sea of Japan because you'd slide back half a step every time you took a step forward. But the view was well worth it!

On this sunny day, the breeze from the sea cooled us down as the warm sun reflected off the sand. It was as if the sand dune was a gigantic beach when it was viewed next to the Sea of Japan. It was gorgeous!


Looking out to the Sea of Japan
Sea of Japan and Tottori Sand Dunes
Our last stop of the day was to Karo Port. There was a seafood market, crab museum, supermarket and restaurants there. We ate kaisendon (seafood rice bowl) for lunch and it tasted pretty fresh.

From the port back to the JR station, it was less than half an hour bus ride. The bus is pretty convenient if you time it right because it does not come that often but it does go to the places you would want to visit.
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