Can you feel the mystical energy!? A trip visiting temples, shrines, and a world heritage site.
The San’in and Yamaguchi area has a lot of well-known “power spots” where you can feel the mystical energy.
We introduce a course where you can visit cultural and historical places, such as temples, shrines, a castle, and a world heritage site.
Maybe you can receive the blessing of deities of various temples and shrines.
Now, let’s start our 6-day road trip, starting from Okayama Airport and finishing at Fukuoka Airport.
Arriving at Okayama Airport
Staying overnight in Tottori City
“Tottori Sand Dunes,” Japan’s largest dunes for sightseeing (Tottori-shi, Tottori)
The “Tottori Sand Dunes” are the most well-known spot in Tottori.
The scenery of the dunes, which has evolved for about one hundred thousand years, is splendid.
You can enjoy various kinds of activities and experiences, such as riding camels, sandboarding, paragliding, etc.
And also, “the Sand Museum,” which is the only museum in Japan featuring sculptures created from sand, is stunning.
You will be overwhelmed by huge sculptures made only of sand.
Tottori Sand Dunes
Address／Yuyama, Fukube-cho, Tottori-shi, Tottori
The must-see geosite “Uradome Coast” (Iwami-gun, Tottori)
Uradome Coast is a 15-kilometer rias coastline.
This deeply indented and saw-tooth shaped coastline makes for great scenic beauty.
When you walk down on the promenade, you can find various examples of natural beauty, such as caves, cliffs, unusually-shaped rocks, white beaches, and so on – all very close to you.
Address／Iwami-cho, Iwami-gun, Tottori
A white rabbit welcomes you at “Hakuto Beach” and “Hakuto Shrine.” (Tottori-shi, Tottori)
“Hakuto Kaigan” is a beach where many people come and enjoy surfing and other marine sports.
This is also is the place of the legend of “the white rabbit of Inaba.” (Hakuto literally means white rabbit.)
The rabbit was crying because it suffered from being skinned by alligators. Some deities who were also brothers found the rabbit – but some of brothers tricked him and made him go into the sea, washing his wounds painfully in salt-water, and drying them with wind. The youngest brother, known as a deity called Daikoku (The deity worshipped at the Izumo Taisha Grand Shrine), came after and advised the rabbit to wash his wounds with fresh water and lie on a bed of cattails (reed maces). Then the wounds were healed, and rabbit could have white hair again.
“Hakuto Shrine,” which is located close to the beach, worships the white rabbit deity in this myth. This deity is said to help heal skin diseases and assist with matchmaking.
Address／Hakuto, Tottori-shi, Tottori
Address／603, Hakuto, Tottori-shi, Tottori
Have a short relaxing break at the hot spring “Misasa Onsen.” (Misasa-cho, Tohaku-gun, Tottori)
The hot spring “Misasa Onsen” is high in radon, and the water has one of the largest radon contents in the world.
For this reason many people visit and stay here for a hot-spring cure.
There is “an open-air bath in the river” at the foot of Misasa Bridge, and anyone can take a bath here anytime, 24 hours a day.
There is also an “ashiyu,” which is a hot spring foot bath.
Address／Misasa, Misasa-cho, Tohaku-gun, Tottori
“Miho Shrine” worships a deity responsible for prosperous business. (Matsue-shi, Shimane)
Now, let’s enter to Shimane Prefecture, also called “the land of the deities.”
Mihonoseki was prosperous as an important port of call for Kitamae-bune (cargo ships that sailed the Japan Sea during the Edo period).
The tasteful old townscape, with its stone paving from 17th century, still remains in this town.
Stop by “Miho Shrine” which worships Ebisu deity who is said to be a child of Daikoku, the deity worshipped in Izumo-taisha.
It is believed that you will have good luck with matchmaking or connections when you pray to both Daikoku and Ebisu.
Address／608, Mihonoseki, Mihonoseki-cho, Matsue-shi, Shimane
One of San’in’s specialties, crab dishes (Tottori)
The must-have food in Tottori is Matsuba-kani (snow crabs)!
The crab meat fills the shell, and its refined umami-rich flavor is very tasty!
The best season for snow crabs is between November and March.
Staying at “Kaike Onsen” (Yonago-shi, Tottori)
The hot spring at Kaike Onsen will ease your fatigue from a long day’s drive.
The rate of water flowing out of the hot spring source in Kaike Onsen is the highest in Tottori Prefecture.
This onsen village is close to Kaike Beach, and it is nice to take a stroll on the beach after taking a bath.
You can swim in summer on this beach.
Address／Kaike-onsen, Yonago-shi, Tottori
Tourist information for Tottori, Japan
Try a unique fortune telling method at “Yaegaki Shrine.” (Matsue-shi, Shimane)
This shrine worships a couple of deities, “Susanoo-no-mikoto” and “Kushinada-hime” in the myth of the “Yamata-no-orochi” (eight-headed-serpent), one of the most well-known myths in Japan.
“The fortune telling at the pond of mirrors” is very popular, as you float a coin on the fortune telling paper on the pond.
Address／227, Sakusa-cho, Matsue-shi, Shimane
Open／9:00 – 17:00
You can cherish cherry blossoms in spring at “Matsue Castle” (Matsue-shi, Shimane)
Matsue Castle was designated as a national treasure in 2015, completed in 1611 and one of only 12 remaining original castles in Japan.
This castle is also called “plover castle” because its roofs look like a plover bird spreading its wings.
The sightseeing boat tour of the moat surrounding the castle, called “Horikawa Meguri,” is popular.
About 360 cherry trees bloom in spring, and a lot of people come and enjoy cherry blossom viewing and picnics.
Address／1-5, Tonomachi, Matsue-shi, Shimane
Open／8:30 – 18:30 (closed at 17:00 between October and March)
Admission fee for a castle tower／Adults 680 yen (340 yen for foreigners)
Satisfy yourself with the top-class taste of “Shimane Wagyu Beef” (Shimane)
Shimane Wagyu Beef is a juicy and tender Japanese beef, and you will love the taste of this Shimane’s specialty.
How about trying the top-class Shimane Wagyu Beef at BBQ house “Chateau Misen” in “Shimane Winery”?
Chateau Misen (in Shimane Winery)
Address／264-2, Hishine, Taisha-cho Izumo-shi, Shimane
Open／10:30 – 18:30 (Closed at 19:30 between June and September)
“Izumo Taisha Grand Shrine” worships the deity of matchmaking. (Izumo-shi, Shimane)
Izumo Taisha Grand Shrine is one of the most well-known shrines in Japan, and a symbol of Shimane prefecture which is called the land of the deities.
The large-scale of the buildings and the site is very fascinating.
The main hall is the highest shrine building in Japan, and designated as a national treasure.
Izumo Taisha Grand Shrine
Address／195, Kizuki-higashi, Taisha-cho, Izumo-shi, Shimane
Open／6:00 – 20:00 (opens at 6:30 between November and February)
“Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine,” the World Heritage Site (Ohda-shi, Shimane)
During the golden age of silver production, one third of the silver in the world was produced by Japan. “Iwami Ginzan,” the biggest silver mine in the country, produced most of that.
Please explore the history of the mine, which was designated as a World Cultural Heritage Site, in the “silver mine area.” This includes the mine, the “Omori area” where the old townscape still remains, and the “Iwami Ginzan World Heritage Center,” which introduces the mine through a diorama.
Address／Omori-cho, Ohda-shi, Shimane
Iwami Ginzan World Heritage Center
Admission fee／Adults 310 yen (340 yen for foreigners)
The performance of “Iwami Kagura” is so divine! (Shimane)
“Kagura” is one of the traditional performing arts in Japan.
And “Iwami Kagura” is popular even among first-timers because the performers wear gorgeous clothes and expressive masks.
Iwami Kagura is performed at several spots in Iwami area on every Saturday.
Staying at “Yunotsu Onsen” (Ohda-shi, Shimane)
Yunotsu was a prosperous port town which exported silver from Iwami Ginzan.
The streets in the town still have a retro feel to them, and you might think you have travelled back in time.
The quality of the hot spring is also attractive because it is said to be effective against various ailments.
Address／Yunotsu, Yunotsu-cho, Ohda-shi, Shimane
SHIMANE Explore Unfamiliar Japan
“Kintaikyo Bridge,” a beautiful old-style bridge with quintuple arches (Iwakuni-shi, Yamaguchi)
“Kintaikyo Bridge” is the wooden quintuple bridge across over Nishiki River in Iwakuni City in Yamaguchi.
This is one of the most famous sightseeing spots in Yamaguchi and this beautiful old Japanese style bridge is must-see.
The beautiful scenery, with cherry blossoms in spring, catches many people’s attention.
Address／1, Iwakuni, Iwakuni-shi, Yamaguchi
Admission fee／Adults 310 yen
“The White Wall Townscape” with its refined and tasteful atmosphere (Yanai-shi, Yamaguchi)
Many traditional style merchant houses with thick whitewashed walls stand along this 200-meter street.
You can especially enjoy it when you visit here before and after the festival called the “Goldfish Lantern Festival” in August. It has a wondrous atmosphere then, with decorations of hanging goldfish-shaped lanterns under the roofs.
The White Wall Townscape
Address／3714-1, Yanai, Yanai-shi, Yamaguchi
Staying at “Nishi-no-Miyabi Tokiwa in Yuda Onsen” (Yamaguchi-shi, Yamaguchi)
“Nishi-no-Miyabi Tokiwa,” an inn in Yamaguchi, amuses you with 6 various hot spring baths and cuisine produced by a famous chef.
Don’t miss the stage performance (held every night) of “Okami Gekijo,” directed by the well-known senior proprietress and proprietress-to-be!
Nishi-no-Miyabi Tokiwa in Yuda Onsen
Address／4-6-4, Yudaonsen, Yamaguchi-shi, Yamaguchi
Impressed by a superb view of “Akiyoshi-dai” and “Akiyoshi-do Cave.” (Mine-shi, Yamaguchi)
“Akiyoshi-dai” is the largest karst plateau in Japan, which has been in the making for 350 million years.
Driving on the road of this plateau is so refreshing because of its superb views!
Also, please visit the “Akiyoshi-do Cave,” which is a limestone cave with extends a total of 10 kilometers under the plateau.
Address／Akiyoshi-dai, Shuho-cho, Mine-shi, Yamaguchi
Address／3506-2, Akiyoshi, Shuho-cho, Mine-shi, Yamaguchi
Open／8:30 – 17:30 (closed at 16:30 between December and February)
Admission fee／Adults 1,300 yen
Closed／Open throughout the year
Enjoy picking fruits at “Hana-no-Umi.” (Sanyo-onoda-shi, Yamaguchi)
“Hana-no-Umi” is one of the biggest “systematic” farms in western Japan.
You can experience picking strawberries (from the end of November to the end of May) and blueberries (from June 15 to the end of August), as well as harvesting some vegetables.
If you see the beautiful flower garden with seasonal flowers, then you will realize why the name of the place is “Hana-no-Umi” (the sea of flowers).
Address／3392, Habu, Sanyo-onoda-shi, Yamaguchi
Open／10:00 – 16:00
Fees／Picking strawberries starts at 1,100 yen (changes depending on the travel season and the day of week)
A crowded and busy fish market in “Karato area” (Karato Market, Kaikyokan, and Akama Shrine)
The Karato area has been prosperous as a port since long ago.
It is famous for “Karato Market” where you can buy various fresh seafood and have sushi at a reasonable price, as well as the “Kaikyokan,” which is the Shimonoseki Municipal Aquarium with the largest penguin exhibition facility in Japan.
There is also the “Akama Shrine,” with its big red gate. This shrine is known as a “power spot.”
Address／5-50, Karato-cho, Shimonoseki-shi, Yamaguchi
Open／10:00 – 15:00 on Friday and Saturday, opens at 8:00 on Sunday and national holidays
Shimonoseki Municipal Aquarium “Kaikyokan”
Address／6-1, Arukapoto, Shimonoseki-shi, Yamaguchi
Open／9:30 – 17:30
Admission fee／2,090 yen
Address／4-1, Amidaji-cho, Shimonoseki-shi, Yamaguchi
The specialty of Yamaguchi “Fuku dishes”
After you’ve had fun sightseeing in Shimonoseki City, where various historical events occurred, wrap up your trip with some “Fuku” dishes.
“Fuku” is blowfish and loved as a luxury dish, and this fish is called “fugu” in other areas.
There are a lot of restaurants where you can enjoy fuku dishes in Shimonoseki City, and this one is called “Shunpan-ro.” It is known as the as the first restaurant which got official government permission to open and serve fuku in Japan.
Staying at Fukuoka City
Leaving from Fukuoka Airport
Don’t you feel that you will get a lot of energy and power from the places on this route?
If you follow the route in this article, you will pay 6,100 yen + 790 yen (for the section between Mine IC and Tottori IC from Okayama Airport on the first day) for 3 days of SEP, from the third day in Shimane to the fifth day in Yamaguchi.
You can save 2,140 yen from the regular toll of 9,030 yen (not using an ETC card)!
The driving routes which we have recommended are a total of 3 plans (there are other 2 routes).
Please check all of them and enjoy a road trip using SEP service in San’in, Setouchi, and Shikoku.
> A continual stream of natural beauty which will make your heart tremble! The eastern drive route covers the best viewing spots in Okayama, Hyogo, and Tokushima
> The must-have item is your camera! The western drive route includes photogenic spots in Kagawa, Kochi, Ehime, and Hiroshima
You can take a road trip in San’in, Setouchi, and Shikoku in Japan with a discounted toll service.
Cherry blossoms in spring, the sea in summer, the fall colors in autumn, and snow in winter….
Japan has beautiful scenery, and you can cherish each place as it changes its expression from season to season.
If you would like to see various photogenic spots and ease your body and mind during your travels in Japan, then visiting San’in, Setouchi, and Shikoku area by car will be the best way!
But maybe you are concerned about the expressways tolls?
Well, don’t worry.
Let’s use a service called the “San’in-Setouchi-Shikoku Expressway Pass (SEP),” provided by “NEXCO WEST,” which is the company that has jurisdiction over expressways in western Japan.
SEP is a flat-rate expressway toll service good for 3 to 10 days!
With this in mind, you can feel free to plan a road trip in the San’in, Setouchi, and Shikoku areas, right?
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> A report on the merging of the superstructure and the base of “SEA SPICA,” the high-speed sightseeing cruiser for island hopping in Setouchi Vol.3 by members of STU48 / West Japan Railway Company 【PR】
> A report on the shipbuilding of “SEA SPICA,” the high-speed sightseeing cruiser for island hopping in Setouchi. Vol.2 shows you the “Reversal Procedure” where the ship is turned over. / West Japan Railway Company 【PR】
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