Tottori the land of Dunes Mount daisen and flowers
Tottori Travel Blog› entry 1 of 2 › view all entries
Having bought tickets for 12000 yen to be able to go anywhere in the West of Japan, we settled on Tottori prefecture approximately 4 hours from Osaka. In fact Tottori is the least visited prefecture in japan. Tottori is more well known for its rice and milk than for tourism but it does offer some natural sightseeing areas such as Mount Daisen, a lone volcano 1729 metres high and it also has the only desert in japan, the dunes of Tottori.
Around 6.00 we caught the Nozomi shinkansen from Shin Osaka station to Okayama. The trip takes over 2 hours if you use the limited express train but with the shinkansen reaching speeds in excess of 270 kilometres an hour.
Well our plan for the day was to hike Mount Daisen, the ascent takes approximately 4 - 5 hours and the descent another 2- 3hours. We were to catch the bus from Yonago station to take us to the base of the mountain. Mount Daisen looks similar to Mount Fuji as they are both lone volcanoes with no mountain rangers around them. You can't actually hike to the summit of Daisen as the last time it erupted the trail has crumbled and has made it far too dangerous to attempt to climb so you actually hike about 50-100 metres below the true summit.
The scenery from the train is really beautiful from Okayama to Yonago, as it passes through a valley with a beautiful crystal clear river. The banks of the valley are full of bright green rice fields then lead up to the forested mountains above, occasionally you could see fishermen or farmers doing their dailey chores. It gave me a glimpse of what to expect to see in August when we go to Bali.
Finally at Yonago, the nearest city to Mount Daisen. We exit the station and find the bus stop to take us there with 5 minutes to spare. We sit, we wait, we talk, we sit, we wait some more but no bus, we look at the time schedule to make sure its the same as the one on the internet and sure enough it is. this is unusual in Japan for transportation to be late. We wait another 5 minutes and still no bus. My wife takes a better look at the bus schedule and in the finest of finest prints it says this bus does not operate in the months of June and July.
Breathe in, Breathe out strike that yoga pose there's nothing to it. After calming down we thought what to do, There was Matsue, a town similar to Kyoto ,only one or 2 stations away, we could go there ,ummmmmmmmmm what else. They had a picture of a flower park with Mount Daisen looming in the background, we could always go there least we'd get to see Mount Daisen. The free shuttle bus ran every 20 minutes and soon enough one came, no dramas that time.
The flower park was huge and actually worth the 900 yen entry fee but you didn't here that from me. The parks main features were its large hothouse dome with Daisen looming in the background as well as its beautiful Lillies, Orchids, hibiscus and rose gardens. I'm starting to sound like a botanist, aren't I.
We then took the train a couple of stations to Misasa Onsen tonight we would be staying at a Japanese Ryokan alway a great experience except when your room smells, the carpet is covered in stains that look like blood or wine and some of the walls had little spots of mold. Admittedly the ryokan was cheap and I'm not one to complain so we stayed put but if I were a bigger man I would have complained to management and asked to be moved to another room.
The onsen though itself was quite nice with an indoor and outdoor bath and a suana, but I'm not a sauna person myself . The dinner also was quite nice, fresh tuna and squid sashimi,deep fried tempura, a few slices of beef steak and a seafood riscotto. It was only about 8 o'clock when we went to our room and fell into a deep sleep.
The next morning caught the train again and we were on our way to Tottori again passed the same beautiful scenery as the day before.two hours passed and we arrived in Tottori, a 20 minute bus ride and we were at the tottori dunes. This is the only desert in japan, an arid land which very little vegetation grows. The dunes stretches for 10 kilometres and can be 2 kilometres in width in places. The dunes are a real beauty but you need all the energy you can muster as each step you take your leg sinks deeper into the sand. On top of the dunes there is a breathtaking view of the sea. Tottori dunes is a great place to watch the parachutist fill their chutes up with wind and sail. fly float whats that bloody word down from the dunes to the sea.
If you come here be careful of the water as there were lots of jellyfish in the sea.
Overall a great weekend I'll be back to the west of Japan again.