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Tue, Aug. 1, 2017 Tottori: Sculpted by Nature
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On this episode of Journeys in Japan, actor Dean Newcombe from Britain explores the natural wonders of Tottori, including the majestic Tottori Sand Dunes. He meets farmers growing rakkyo, goes fishing for flying fish with his guesthouse owner, and hangs out with washi craftsmen.

Tottori Sand Dunes
Tottori Sand Dunes
More than 100,000 years ago, the rocks of the Chugoku Mountain Range eroded and washed away to the Sea of Japan. The Tottori Sand Dunes started to form when the sand was washed ashore and began accumulating. A narrow plateau called the Horse's Back commands a sweeping view of the Sea of Japan. In summer, the contrast between the colors of the sunset over the sea and the dunes is especially beautiful.
Tottori Sand Dunes Geopark Center (East Entrance)
Address: 2164-661Yuyama,Fukube-cho, Tottori city,
Tottori pref.
Tel: +81-(0)857-22-0021 (Japanese only)
Sakyu Rakkyo
Sakyu Rakkyo
One of Japan's largest rakkyo farming areas lies east of the Tottori Sand Dunes, in Fukube. Sakyu Rakkyo (sakyu means dunes) are known for their white color and crisp texture.
Sand Museum
Sand Museum
The Sand Museum curates an annual exhibition under the theme, "World Travel in Sand," with sand sculpture artists from across the world. After the exhibition closes, works are returned to their natural state. The artists pour their passion into their ephemeral, yet beautiful creations.
Address: 2083-17 Yuyama, Fukube-cho, Tottori city, Tottori pref.
Tel: +81-(0)857-20-2231
Inn No.20 Nakamura
Inn No.20 Nakamura
From Tottori, it's about a 30-minute train ride to reach Higashihama Station. From Uradome Beach, it's a ten-minute drive. The district has hosted student summer camps for more than 50 years. Guesthouses in the vicinity are numbered, so the children can easily find their way. A swimming beach is close by, and people can also barbeque there. The guesthouse serves homegrown vegetables, wild plants and seafood fresh from the nearby sea. Guests can enjoy many activities depending on the season, including fly fish fishing excursions with the proprietor in summer.
Address: 693 Kugami, Iwami Town, Iwami District,
Tottori Pref.
Tel: +81-(0)857-72-0273 (Japanese only)
Fly fish netting trip: 5,000 yen/adult 3,500 yen/child
Seafood Restaurant Tatsumi
Seafood Restaurant Tatsumi
Located just in front of Uradome Beach, this restaurant serves seasonal seafood.
Address: 2475-240 Uradome, Iwami Town, Iwami District
Tottori Pref.
Tel: +81-(0)857-72-8700
(Weekdays 11:30-14:00 / 17:00-21:30, Closed on Tuesdays)
Inshu Washi Japanese Paper
Inshu Washi Japanese Paper
Inshu Washi is one of Tottori's traditional crafts. For about 1,300 years, craftsmen have produced fine paper using the abundant local, clear water and excellent plant fibers. During the Edo period, they flourished with demand from the feudal Tottori clan for formal documents. The area is known as one of the leading producers of paper for calligraphy and drawing. Also popular as a construction material, the paper is used for shoji screens and lighting fixtures.
Aoya washi studio
Aoya washi studio
This studio displays materials related to washi paper. It also has a shop selling Inshu Washi and a cafe. Visitors can try their hand at making their own washi.
Address: 313 Yamane, Aoya Town, Tottori City, Tottori Pref.
Tel: +81-(0)857-86-6060
9:00~17:00 (Register for paper-making workshop by 16:00 )
Admission: Free (100~300 yen for special exhibitions)
Washi workshop: 200 yen for postcard, 400 yen for A4 paper size
Yamane Washi Paper Museum (affiliated with Dai-inshu Seishi Kyogyo Kumiai)
Yamane Washi Paper Museum (affiliated with Dai-inshu Seishi Kyogyo Kumiai)
Opened in 1980, this space displays materials related to washi artisans, local and international. The building, formerly an elementary school, was transferred to this site and converted into a museum focusing on ties between people and paper.
Tel: +81-(0)857-86-0011 (Japanese only)
Admission: Free (Closed on Saturdays, Sundays and national holidays. Occasional irregular closures).
Access
accessmap
From Tokyo's Haneda Airport, it's an hour and twenty minutes to Tottori Sakyu Conan Airport. From there, it's 20-minutes by car to reach the dunes, Shuttle buses are also available.
Travel Log

Traveler: Dean Newcombe > More Info

Nationality:British

Occupation:Model, Actor

Length of residence in Japan:8 years

Reason:In Japan for the love of culture, travel and challenge

Traveler's Archives:

> Koza: A Rhythm All Its Own

> Tanegashima: Guns, Rockets and Surf

> Hidden Village Kuma

> Iwate Winter Rite

This journey gave me a chance to return to Tottori for my third time and feel that nostalgic (or as they say here natsukashii) feeling as I walked the dunes again. That said, I was surprised at how much I didn't know about Tottori and how much this journey felt like a first time. The same place yet explored through new angles and with a further depth…

I already knew Tottori was beautiful and I certainly confirmed that again-it's a remarkably picturesque prefecture. What I hadn't seen, or to more accurately say experience, was the local culture. Tottori is the least populated prefecture in Japan, so then it makes sense that we would expect the preservation of traditional skills, the cultivation of local foods and that sense of self-sufficiency. That might not be so easy to step into and feel, which is why I am very grateful for the chance to stay in a local guesthouse (minshuku) where the food is grown in the garden and caught in the sea. In fact, thinking about my stay, I ate almost nothing that wasn't locally sourced, and even ate vegetables I had harvested and fish that I had caught. Most of us simply never get the chance to experience something so pure and authentic.

The moment I will remember more than any though was meeting a very special craftsman. You could even call Akiyoshi-san an artist-a man who has dedicated his life to the production of one-off bespoke inspired pieces of paper art or washi. He showed me thoughtfully and openly how he creates concepts through nature, and then goes about producing unique designs using coloring and texture on beautiful, quality washi paper. I am often moved by the dedication, humility and purity of heart of the master craftsmen I have met in Japan. Akiyoshi is no exception.

I have been recommending Tottori to visitors for years, but now perhaps I will suggest much more than the walk on the dunes. Sure, go and see this unique landscape, but then dig a little deeper...who knows what you might find!

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