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The history of Tottori
The city of Tottori is the capital of the prefecture of the same name. It is located in the central region of Chûgoku on Honshu Island. The city is located on the coast, facing the Sea of Japan, about a hundred kilometers north of Himeji.
The city located on the coast of San-in, the northernmost island of Honshu, takes its name from an ancient civilization that 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 expendable by the new authorities. The spot it once stood is still appreciated today for its cherry trees during the 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 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 reminiscent of nineteenth-century Japan. Feel free to wander this road to the castle ruins.
Tottori's culinary specialty: Pears
Japanese pears, called "nashi " look a lot like apples but taste nothing like them.
It is customary for Tottori residents to shop for nashi, Asian pears, during fall. Nashigari (pear picking) is a common activity practiced in the fields around the city on some of the farms during this time. Like the pears of Okayama, Tottori has some very tasty ones too. Don't hesitate to try them in a form of one of the many desserts dishes available in the area.
The legend of the Hakuto shrine
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 visit the main island of Honshu but was incapable of such a big journey crossing the sea so he had an 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, he jumped from one shark to the next, eventually reaching Honshu Island.
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 well-known shrine in the region.
What to see in and around Tottori
Tottori is a true gateway to the frontier 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. Stretching over 16 km from west to east, these dunes have existed for millennia and culminate at 47 meters high.
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.
Here are the main places of interest that you should not miss during a stay in Tottori:
- The Tottori dunes. From the station, take the Kirinjishi Loop bus to the Sakyu stop (200 yen). Possibility to take a camel ride, in a horse-drawn carriage ...
- The ruins of the castle and the view of the city. Address: 2 Chome-124 Higashimachi, Tottori, 680-0011
- The Kannon-in temple. Address: 162 Uemachi, Tottori, 680-0015
- The Tottori Prefecture Museum. Address: 2 Chome-124 Higashimachi, Tottori, 680-0011
- The Hakuto Shrine. Address: 603 Hakuto, Tottori, 689-0206
- Near Tottori are several beaches: Hakuto and Idegahama beaches.
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