Tucked away in the western part of the Tottori Prefecture, Yonago is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered by those eager for an authentic Japanese experience. This coastal city, with the imposing Daisen mountain as its backdrop, offers an inviting blend of nature, history, and culture that beckons travelers from far and wide. Whether you’re a nature lover, a history buff, or someone seeking serenity, Yonago promises a wealth of experiences that are both profound and delightful.
At the heart of Yonago’s natural allure is Mount Daisen. Known as the “Mount Fuji of the West”, this volcanic peak is the highest in the Chugoku region. Adorned with lush forests, the mountain provides ample opportunities for hiking and trekking, with trails suitable for beginners and experts alike. Each season drapes Daisen in a unique attire: cherry blossoms in spring, verdant greenery in summer, fiery autumnal colors, and a pristine white snow blanket in winter.
Connecting to the Sea of Japan, the Yumigahama Peninsula is another testament to Yonago’s natural beauty. The azure waters, golden sands, and the occasional sight of migratory birds paint a picture so serene, it feels almost ethereal.
History and Culture
Yonago’s roots are deeply entrenched in history. The Yonago Castle Ruins stand as a silent witness to the city’s samurai past. Though the castle itself was dismantled in the Meiji period, the stone walls and the moat provide a glimpse into its former glory. Surrounding it, the Kiyomizu Temple and other age-old shrines offer a spiritual journey into the heart of traditional Japan.
The city also takes pride in its local traditions. Every year, the Yonago Kite Festival fills the sky with vibrant, massive kites, celebrating a tradition that spans centuries. Witnessing this spectacle is akin to stepping back in time.
No travel guide can be complete without a mention of the local cuisine, and Yonago does not disappoint. The city is renowned for its seafood, given its proximity to the sea. Fresh catches from the Sea of Japan, especially crab and squid, are must-tries for any visitor. Furthermore, due to its agricultural abundance, Yonago also boasts a variety of rice and vegetable dishes, each prepared with a unique local touch.
A Gateway to Exploration
Yonago serves as a crucial transit point for exploring western Japan. The city is well-connected, with its airport, train lines, and buses enabling travelers to delve deeper into the Chugoku region and beyond. Places like the Tottori Sand Dunes or the historic town of Kurayoshi are just a short journey away.
Yonago, with its harmonious blend of nature, history, and modernity, is a destination that offers a genuine encounter with the soul of Japan. As you wander its streets, climb its mountain trails, or savor its delicacies, you’ll be enchanted by its understated charm and the warm hospitality of its people. Dive into this journey and let Yonago weave its magic around you.
Yonago City Guide: A Brief History Of Yonago, Japan For Visitors
The history of Yonago, a city nestled in the Tottori Prefecture on the western coast of Japan, is a captivating blend of natural wonders, feudal tales, cultural shifts, and modern progression. For the intrepid traveler, understanding Yonago’s past provides a rich context to its present-day attractions and nuances.
Long before it became a bustling city, the region around Yonago was inhabited as early as the Jomon period (14,000–300 BC). Evidence from archaeological digs suggests that early inhabitants thrived on hunting, fishing, and gathering, with the rich coastal environment of the Sea of Japan providing ample sustenance.
Feudal Era and the Age of Samurai:
As Japan transitioned into its feudal period, Yonago became strategically important. Its location along the Sea of Japan made it a vital point for commerce and defense. The construction of Yonago Castle during the late 16th century under the Horio clan marked the city’s prominence as a feudal stronghold. However, the castle would later be dismantled during the Meiji Restoration, leaving behind ruins that offer a silent testament to its samurai legacy.
Cultural Flourishing and Trade:
During the Edo period (1603-1868), Yonago became a bustling center of commerce. Its port facilitated trade and the exchange of cultural ideas with other parts of Japan and even Korea and China. This period saw an enrichment of Yonago’s cultural landscape with the introduction of various arts, crafts, and culinary influences.
The Modern Transformation:
The Meiji Restoration in the late 19th century brought significant changes to Japan, including Yonago. The abolition of the feudal system, industrialization, and the centralization of power in Tokyo meant cities like Yonago had to adapt and evolve. The city began to modernize its infrastructure, including transportation and communication systems, laying the foundation for its future growth.
In the 20th century, especially post-World War II, Yonago witnessed rapid urbanization. Its importance as a regional transportation hub grew with the establishment of the Yonago Airport and expansion of rail and road networks.
Natural Disasters and Resilience:
Like many parts of Japan, Yonago has had its share of challenges, particularly in the form of natural disasters. Earthquakes and tsunamis have occasionally threatened the city, but the resilience and spirit of its people have always prevailed. Reconstruction and disaster mitigation have been integral to Yonago’s modern history, emphasizing safety and community well-being.
Throughout its history, Yonago has taken significant steps to preserve its cultural heritage. The annual Yonago Kite Festival is not just a tourist attraction but a tribute to its rich past. The city’s museums, such as the Yonago City Museum of Art, showcase artifacts and artworks that tell tales of Yonago’s bygone eras.
Yonago, with its millennia-spanning history, stands as a microcosm of Japan’s broader historical narrative. From ancient settlements to samurai strongholds, from trading ports to modern urban centers, the city embodies the spirit of evolution while holding onto its cultural roots. For visitors, every corner of Yonago whispers stories of its storied past, making the experience of exploring it deeply enriching.
source: THE POOR TRAVELER on YouTube
Top 33 Things To Do in Yonago, Japan For Visitors
Yonago, a splendid city in Tottori Prefecture, is a cornucopia of attractions ranging from nature’s best displays to historical wonders. If you’re planning a visit, here’s a detailed guide to ensure you make the most of your trip:
- Mount Daisen: No visit to Yonago is complete without exploring the majestic Mt. Daisen. Whether you’re hiking up its trails in summer or skiing down in winter, its panoramic views will leave you breathless.
- Yonago Castle Ruins: Walk through history by visiting these ruins. The remnants, like the stone walls and moat, evoke the city’s glorious past.
- Kaike Onsen: Soak in these seaside hot springs. The therapeutic waters and the view of the Sea of Japan make for a sublime experience.
- Yumigahama Peninsula: A picturesque coastal line perfect for beach activities, bird watching, and picnics.
- Yonago Kite Museum: Discover the intricate art and history of kite making in Yonago.
- Minatoyama Park: A tranquil spot offering sweeping views of Yonago City and the Sea of Japan. It’s especially beautiful during cherry blossom season.
- Daisenji Temple: A historically significant temple set amidst the forests of Mount Daisen.
- Daisen White Snow Park: An ideal destination for snow sports enthusiasts.
- Yonago Waterbirds Sanctuary: A paradise for birdwatchers, especially during the migratory season.
- Yonago Old Street: Stroll through the streets that offer a glimpse of Yonago’s past, adorned with traditional wooden buildings and shops.
- Tottori Hanakairo Flower Park: Located just outside Yonago, it’s one of Japan’s largest flower parks.
- Daisen-Oki National Park: Explore the diverse flora and fauna across its vast expanse.
- Mizuki Shigeru Road: Dedicated to the manga artist Shigeru Mizuki, this road has statues of characters from his works.
- Dan Dan Square: Yonago’s vibrant downtown area filled with shops, restaurants, and entertainment options.
- Yonago City Museum of Art: Immerse yourself in local and international art pieces.
- Nakaumi: The fifth-largest lake in Japan, offering opportunities for fishing, boating, and sunset viewing.
- Kiyomizu Temple: A peaceful temple located near the Yonago Castle Ruins.
- Fukada Garden: A lovely spot to witness seasonal flowers in bloom.
- Tatara Ironworks: A heritage site showcasing traditional iron-making techniques.
- Gosho Aoyama Manga Factory: A tribute to the creator of “Detective Conan”, this museum is a treat for manga fans.
- Daisen Makiba Milk Farm: Experience farm activities and enjoy fresh dairy products.
- Tottori Sand Dunes: A short drive from Yonago, these unique dunes offer a desert-like landscape.
- Metropolitan Yonago Agricultural Park: A delightful place to learn about agricultural practices and enjoy farm-to-table meals.
- Yonago Marine Museum: Dive deep into the aquatic world and learn about the rich marine life of the region.
- Takehara Historic Preservation Area: An area preserving traditional buildings and the ambiance of historic Japan.
- Adachi Museum of Art: Known for its exquisite gardens, this museum also houses an impressive collection of art.
- Daisen Natsuyama Summer Ski Slope: Though not for skiing, this slope provides thrilling grass sledging.
- Hiezu Village: A charming village known for its terraced rice fields.
- Kotobikihama Beach: Famous for its “singing sands”, this beach offers a unique experience.
- Izumo Taisha: A significant Shinto shrine located a short drive from Yonago.
- Sample Local Cuisine: Indulge in the seafood delicacies, especially crab dishes, and local sake.
- Attend Local Festivals: Plan your visit around festivals like the Yonago Kite Festival or Daisen Natsuyama Summer Festival for a cultural immersion.
- Shopping at Aeon Mall Yonago: Indulge in retail therapy, experiencing both global brands and local crafts.
Yonago is a harmonious blend of natural beauty, historical richness, and modern charm. Each attraction tells a unique story, promising memories that will last a lifetime.
source: THE POOR TRAVELER on YouTube
What To Eat and Drink in Yonago, Japan
When visiting Yonago, be prepared for a delightful gastronomic journey that encompasses the essence of Japan’s culinary landscape, particularly highlighting the coastal richness and agricultural bounty of the Tottori Prefecture. Here’s a detailed guide to satisfy your palate:
- Matsuba Crab: Known as the ‘King of the Sea of Japan’, this snow crab is a winter delicacy and is especially celebrated in Yonago. It’s enjoyed boiled, grilled, or in hot pots.
- Squid: Fresh from the Sea of Japan, squid dishes like grilled squid and squid sashimi are local favorites.
- Shrimp and Scallop: Whether grilled, stir-fried, or served as sashimi, the fresh catch from the sea ensures unmatched taste.
- Daisen Chicken: Sourced from the region around Mt. Daisen, this chicken is known for its juicy, flavorful meat. It’s served in various forms, from yakitori skewers to hot pots.
- Yonago-style Sushi: Unlike the usual sushi, Yonago offers a unique touch with toppings like locally caught fish and pickled vegetables.
Noodles and Soups:
- Soba: Daisen soba, using buckwheat grown in the region, offers a delightful, earthy taste.
- Ramen: Try the local variations that are often enriched with seafood broths or Daisen chicken.
- Mizugiwa Mochi: A specialty of the region, it’s a mochi (rice cake) soup with vegetables, enjoyed especially during the cold months.
- Kani Kamameshi: A rice pot dish where rice is cooked with delicious Matsuba crab, giving it an enticing flavor.
- Daisen Gyu Donburi: A bowl of rice topped with thinly sliced Daisen beef, often accompanied by a rich sauce or broth.
Sweets and Desserts:
- Nashi Pear: Tottori Prefecture is famous for its juicy, sweet Nashi pears. Enjoy them fresh or as part of desserts.
- Daisen Milk Ice Cream: Using fresh milk from Daisen, this creamy ice cream is a must-try.
- Shoji Ueda Coffee Jelly: A dessert dedicated to the famous photographer Shoji Ueda, it’s a delightful combination of coffee jelly and cream.
- Sake: Being in Japan, trying local sake is a must. Yonago offers several variations, often brewed using the pure waters from Mt. Daisen.
- Local Craft Beers: With the rise of microbreweries, you can find beers that incorporate local ingredients for unique flavors.
- Green Tea: Savor the aromatic local blends, either hot or cold, depending on the season.
- Daisen Mineral Water: Extracted from the springs of Mt. Daisen, this water is known for its purity and mineral content.
Local Cafes and Izakayas:
- Explore local cafes that offer both traditional Japanese treats and contemporary global fare.
- Dive deep into the local nightlife by visiting izakayas (Japanese pubs) where you can pair drinks with an array of local snacks and dishes.
Yonago’s culinary landscape is a direct reflection of its rich natural surroundings and cultural heritage. From the freshest seafood to flavorsome meats, aromatic brews, and delightful sweets, the city ensures that every meal becomes a memorable part of your travel experience.
source: THE POOR TRAVELER on YouTube
Top Restaurants In Yonago, Japan
Yonago, with its rich coastal location and historical backdrop, has a thriving culinary scene. The city’s restaurants showcase a beautiful blend of traditional Japanese cuisines, local specialties, and global influences. Here’s a detailed list of top restaurants you shouldn’t miss when visiting:
1. Kani Goten (Crab Palace):
Specialty: As the name suggests, this place is renowned for its crab dishes, especially the Matsuba Crab. Ambience: Traditional Japanese settings with tatami seating. Must-try: Crab hotpot and grilled crab.
Specialty: A haven for sushi lovers. Ambience: Elegant and intimate, with counter seating to watch chefs at work. Must-try: Seasonal sashimi platter and Yonago-style sushi rolls.
4. Daisen Kurhaus:
Specialty: They serve dishes made from fresh Daisen milk and beef. Ambience: Modern yet with a touch of traditional elegance. Must-try: Daisen beef steak and Daisen milk ice cream.
5. Kappo Ryokan Uoya:
Specialty: A traditional Japanese dining experience with multi-course meals. Ambience: Classic ryokan atmosphere with impeccable hospitality. Must-try: The seasonal kaiseki (traditional multi-course meal).
6. Bar Dining Gulliver:
Specialty: A blend of Japanese and Western cuisines. Ambience: Cozy with a touch of modern sophistication. Must-try: Seafood pasta and the chef’s special appetizers.
7. Sushi Kappo Kaneko:
Specialty: Exquisite sushi and seafood dishes. Ambience: Traditional wooden interiors with counter and private room seating. Must-try: Chef’s choice sashimi and sushi platter.
8. Daisen Tei:
Specialty: Celebrates local produce with dishes revolving around Daisen chicken and vegetables. Ambience: Warm, welcoming with wooden interiors. Must-try: Chicken hotpot and seasonal vegetable tempura.
9. Patisserie Tsuki to Taiyou:
Specialty: A bakery-cum-café known for its pastries and desserts. Ambience: Chic and relaxed, ideal for afternoon respites. Must-try: Matcha opera cake and freshly baked croissants.
10. Izakaya Zammai:
Specialty: Perfect for tasting local snacks, dishes, and drinks. Ambience: Vibrant, casual, with traditional izakaya vibes. Must-try: Grilled squid, local sake, and yakitori skewers.
11. Shokudo Maruyoshi:
Specialty: Traditional Japanese comfort food. Ambience: Simple, home-like setting. Must-try: Daily set meals which often include fish, pickles, and rice.
12. Café de Miki with Hello Kitty:
Specialty: A themed café, especially for Hello Kitty fans. Ambience: Cute, playful, and dreamy with Hello Kitty decor all around. Must-try: Hello Kitty pancakes and lattes with Hello Kitty art.
Yonago’s dining scene is a testament to its rich culinary heritage, blending local traditions with global tastes. Each restaurant, whether it’s a high-end establishment or a casual eatery, promises a unique experience, making the city a gastronomic paradise for visitors.
source: THE POOR TRAVELER on YouTube
Tours For Visitors To Yonago, Japan
Yonago, with its amalgamation of history, nature, and culture, offers diverse tour opportunities for visitors. Whether you’re an avid nature enthusiast, a history buff, or someone simply looking to dive deep into the local culture, there’s a tour that fits your interests. Let’s delve into the most recommended tours:
1. Mount Daisen Hiking Tour:
- Guided hike through various trails, catering to both beginners and advanced hikers.
- Panoramic views, pristine waterfalls, and diverse flora and fauna.
- Visit to the ancient Daisenji Temple.
Duration: Half-day to full-day, depending on the chosen trail.
2. Yonago City Historical Walk:
- Exploring the Yonago Castle Ruins and understanding its historical significance.
- A stroll through Yonago Old Street, showcasing traditional wooden buildings.
- Visits to temples and shrines around the city.
3. Coastal & Seafood Delight Tour:
- Visiting Yumigahama Peninsula and its beautiful beaches.
- A stop at local fishing villages to understand their way of life.
- Seafood tasting sessions, especially Yonago’s famous Matsuba crab.
Duration: Half to full-day.
4. Daisen-Oki National Park Exploration:
- Guided visit to various spots within the park.
- Birdwatching sessions at Yonago Waterbirds Sanctuary.
- Nature walks around Nakaumi, the fifth-largest lake in Japan.
5. Cultural Immersion & Workshop Tour:
- Attending workshops like traditional kite making at Yonago Kite Museum.
- Hands-on experience at Tatara Ironworks.
- Pottery and ceramics workshops with local artisans.
Duration: Half-day to full-day, depending on the activities chosen.
6. Manga & Anime Trails:
- A walk through Mizuki Shigeru Road, with statues of characters from his works.
- Visit to the Gosho Aoyama Manga Factory, dedicated to the creator of “Detective Conan.”
7. Farm & Culinary Experience Tour:
- Visit Daisen Makiba Milk Farm for a chance to milk cows and taste fresh dairy products.
- Attend cooking classes, learning to prepare local delicacies.
- Exploring Tottori Hanakairo Flower Park to understand local agriculture and flower cultivation.
Duration: Half to full-day.
8. Onsen & Relaxation Tour:
- Experience the therapeutic waters of Kaike Onsen.
- Relaxation sessions with views of the Sea of Japan.
- Learning about the history and culture of onsen in Japan.
Duration: Can range from a few hours to an overnight stay.
9. Nightlife & Modern Yonago Exploration:
- Guided tour of Dan Dan Square, experiencing the city’s nightlife.
- Visits to popular bars, izakayas, and entertainment spots.
- Tasting sessions of local sake and brews.
Duration: Evening to late night.
10. Customized Tours:
- Depending on specific interests, like photography, birdwatching, or culinary arts, visitors can opt for tailored tours that cater to niche preferences.
Yonago’s multifaceted appeal makes it a delightful destination for varied tours. The tours not only promise a deep dive into the city’s essence but also ensure lasting memories, stories to tell, and experiences to cherish. Whether one prefers serene nature walks, bustling cityscapes, or immersive cultural experiences, Yonago welcomes with open arms and abundant offerings.
Yonago Accommodations Guide: Hotels, Guesthouses and Hostels
In Yonago, travelers will discover an array of accommodations that reflect the city’s essence, blending tradition with modernity. This guide dives deep into the top places to stay, ensuring that every visitor finds their ideal resting spot.
- Totoya: This upscale ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) overlooks the majestic Sea of Japan. Guests are treated to tatami-matted rooms, hot spring baths, and a multi-course Japanese dining experience.
- Features: Onsen, gourmet dining, traditional architecture.
- Yonago Washington Hotel Plaza: Located in the heart of the city, this establishment boasts of modern amenities and Western-style rooms.
- Features: Business center, in-house restaurant, proximity to transport hubs.
- ANA Crowne Plaza Yonago: Combining Japanese hospitality with international standards, this hotel caters to both leisure and business travelers.
- Features: Fitness center, meeting rooms, and an array of dining options.
- Kaike Grand Hotel Tensui: Situated close to Kaike Onsen, guests here can revel in the therapeutic waters while enjoying serene sea views.
- Features: Onsen, traditional and Western-style rooms, seafood dining.
Guesthouses and Traditional Ryokans:
- Daisen Guesthouse Oyama: A fusion of tradition and modernity, this guesthouse is a favorite for those looking to explore Mount Daisen.
- Features: Shared kitchen, local experiences, traditional tatami rooms.
- Guesthouse Yadokari: This warm and welcoming guesthouse has an authentic Japanese touch, offering a cozy experience.
- Features: Japanese-style communal spaces, local food, bicycle rentals.
- Yonago No Yado Ryo: A classic ryokan experience with the hospitality that the region is known for.
- Features: Tatami rooms, communal baths, traditional meals.
Budget Accommodations and Hostels:
- Kaike Onsen Youth Hostel: Ideal for backpackers, this establishment not only offers affordable lodging but also gives guests a taste of onsen culture.
- Features: Dormitory rooms, communal kitchen, onsen access.
- Yonago Kanko Hotel Nampu-so: Situated in the vicinity of Yonago Castle Ruins, this hotel offers simple yet comfortable rooms.
- Features: On-site restaurant, meeting rooms, free Wi-Fi.
- Guesthouse Saika: A favorite amongst young travelers, Saika offers a vibrant atmosphere, ensuring guests bond over shared experiences.
- Features: Shared lounge, communal kitchen, bicycle rentals.
- Farmer’s Guest House B&B: For those looking for an agritourism experience, this bed and breakfast introduces guests to farming life.
- Features: Farm activities, fresh farm-to-table meals, traditional rooms.
- Daisen White Resort: Located amidst the snowy landscapes, this resort is a winter paradise.
- Features: Ski-to-door access, Western-style rooms, skiing lessons.
Tips for Booking:
- Seasonal Demand: Yonago, with its array of attractions, experiences peak seasons. Ensure bookings are made well in advance, especially during the Matsuba Crab season or Mount Daisen’s hiking season.
- Cultural Etiquette: Especially in traditional ryokans, familiarize yourself with Japanese etiquette, like removing shoes or proper onsen behavior.
- Local Experiences: Many accommodations offer unique experiences, from tea ceremonies to cooking classes. Engage in these to enrich your stay.
Whether you’re looking for the luxury of a modern hotel, the charm of a traditional ryokan, or the camaraderie of a bustling hostel, Yonago has a wide spectrum of accommodations to choose from. Dive into the city’s hospitality and let every night be as memorable as the days spent exploring its wonders.
Yonago 3-4 Days Travel Itinerary
Day 1: Dive into Yonago’s History and Culture
- Breakfast at a local café. Try some traditional Japanese breakfast items, like miso soup, rice, and pickled vegetables.
- Head to Yonago Castle Ruins. Explore the grounds, and get a panoramic view of the city from the observation point.
- Lunch at Nishitani, savoring Yonago-style sushi.
- Stroll down Yonago Old Street. Admire the well-preserved wooden buildings and get a feel of Yonago’s rich past.
- Visit the Yonago City Museum of Art to appreciate local and national artists.
- Dine at Kani Goten and indulge in their famous Matsuba Crab dishes.
- Take a leisurely walk near Dan Dan Square for some nighttime city vibes or try local bars to sample regional sake.
Day 2: Nature’s Grandeur at Mount Daisen
- Begin the day early with a hearty breakfast at your accommodation.
- Set out for Mount Daisen, the towering pride of the region.
- Embark on a guided hike appropriate for your fitness level. For a shorter hike, opt for the Ogamiyama Shrine route.
- Relish a packed lunch amidst nature, or head down to local eateries around Daisen.
- Visit Daisenji Temple, absorbing the spiritual aura and understanding its historical significance.
- Enjoy a traditional kaiseki dinner at Kappo Ryokan Uoya .
- If staying in the Daisen area, relax in an onsen with views of the mountainous landscape.
Day 3: Coastal Charm and Culinary Delights
- Breakfast at the hotel or try a local café for some fresh pastries.
- Drive down to Yumigahama Peninsula. Spend time on the beach, take in the fresh sea breeze, and perhaps collect shells.
- Head to a local fishing village to observe the day’s catch and engage with the locals.
- Have a seafood-themed lunch. Try local specialties like fresh sashimi or grilled fish.
- Visit the Yonago Waterbirds Sanctuary for some serene birdwatching.
- Opt for a cooking class to learn to prepare a local Yonago delicacy.
- Dine at Daisen Tei, celebrating local produce.
Day 4: Manga Trails and Relaxation
- After breakfast, set out for the Mizuki Shigeru Road. Marvel at the statues of yokai (spirit monsters) from his manga and learn about the cultural significance of these folklore creatures.
- Head to Gosho Aoyama Manga Factory, especially if you’re a Detective Conan fan.
- Grab a quick lunch at a local eatery or café.
- Dedicate this evening for relaxation. Head to Kaike Onsen, immersing yourself in therapeutic waters while gazing at the Sea of Japan.
- Conclude your trip with a sumptuous meal at Bar Dining Gulliver, blending Japanese and Western cuisines.
This 3-4 days itinerary ensures that visitors to Yonago get a comprehensive experience, balancing nature, history, culture, and relaxation. Each day is curated to offer unique perspectives, ensuring lasting memories and a deep connection with the city’s multifaceted allure.
source: Samuel and Audrey on YouTube
Where To Visit After Your Trip To Yonago?
Once you’ve immersed yourself in the culture, history, and natural beauty of Yonago, there are several other nearby destinations that offer contrasting experiences to enrich your journey. Here are destinations you can consider after Yonago:
Distance: Just about 60 kilometers from Yonago.
- Tottori Sand Dunes: These are the only large dune system in Japan, stretching over 16 kilometers. Experience activities like camel riding, paragliding, and sandboarding.
- The Sand Museum: Hosting sand sculptures from international artists, this museum changes its theme annually.
- Tottori Hanakairo Flower Park: A sprawling flower park that offers beautiful blooms in every season.
- Jinpu-kaku: A French Renaissance-style residence offering a blend of Western and Japanese architectures.
Distance: Approximately 70 kilometers from Yonago.
- Matsue Castle: One of the 12 original castles of Japan, this offers spectacular views of the city.
- Shimane Art Museum: Overlooking Lake Shinji, the museum boasts a comprehensive collection of Japanese and international art.
- Adachi Museum of Art: Famous for its gardens which are considered some of the best in Japan.
- Tamatsukuri Onsen: Relax in these hot spring baths known for their beautifying properties.
Distance: About 240 kilometers from Yonago.
- Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and Museum: Pay homage to the victims of the atomic bomb.
- Itsukushima Shrine on Miyajima Island: Recognized as one of Japan’s three most scenic views, it’s famous for its floating torii gate.
- Shukkeien Garden: A beautiful traditional Japanese garden.
- Hiroshima Castle: Also known as the Carp Castle, it provides insights into Hiroshima’s history.
Distance: Around 200 kilometers from Yonago.
- Korakuen Garden: Regarded as one of the three best landscape gardens in Japan.
- Kurashiki: This historic town has well-preserved Edo-period (1603-1868) buildings.
- Okayama Castle: Known as Crow Castle due to its black exterior.
- Bitchu Matsuyama Castle: Japan’s highest castle above sea level.
Distance: About 270 kilometers from Yonago.
- Osaka Castle: The iconic historical landmark of the city.
- Dotonbori: Renowned for its neon lights, street food, entertainment, and canal.
- Universal Studios Japan: A world-famous theme park offering a plethora of attractions.
- Shitenno-ji Temple: The oldest Buddhist temple in Japan.
Distance: Approximately 300 kilometers from Yonago.
- Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion): The Zen temple layered in gold leaf.
- Fushimi Inari Shrine: Famous for its thousands of red torii gates.
- Arashiyama Bamboo Grove: Walk through this mesmerizing bamboo forest.
- Gion District: Experience traditional wooden machiya houses, teahouses, and geisha.
Distance: Roughly 260 kilometers from Yonago.
- Kobe Harborland: A shopping and entertainment district along the waterfront.
- Arima Onsen: One of the oldest hot spring towns in Japan, offering gold and silver hot spring waters.
- Kobe Beef Dining: Kobe is famous for its high-quality beef, so indulging in a meal here is a must.
- Ikuta Shrine: A historic Shinto shrine nestled in the heart of the city.
source: Samuel and Audrey on YouTube
Distance: Approximately 290 kilometers from Yonago.
- Todai-ji Temple: Home to the Great Buddha statue, and one of the most iconic temples in Japan.
- Nara Park: Interact with free-roaming deer, considered messengers of the gods in Shinto.
- Kasuga-taisha Shrine: Recognized for its thousands of stone lanterns and bronze lanterns.
- Naramachi: The old town area with well-preserved historic houses and traditional shops.
Distance: About 340 kilometers from Yonago.
- Kenrokuen Garden: One of the top three gardens in Japan, showcasing stunning seasonal landscapes.
- Nagamachi Samurai District: A well-preserved samurai district featuring residences, earthen walls, and narrow lanes.
- Omicho Market: Over 200 stalls offering fresh seafood, fruits, vegetables, and local delicacies.
- Kanazawa Castle: Explore the sprawling castle grounds and admire the sturdy stone walls and moats.
Distance: Roughly 180 kilometers from Yonago.
- Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine: A UNESCO World Heritage site, this ancient silver mine reflects Japan’s rich mining history.
- Omori Town: A historic town that thrived during the mining era, with preserved samurai residences and temples.
- Gohyaku Rakan Statues: Located near the silver mine, this site features 500 stone statues of Buddhist disciples.
Distance: About 120 kilometers from Yonago.
- Izumo Taisha: One of the oldest and most significant Shinto shrines in Japan, dedicated to the deity of marriage.
- Hinomisaki Lighthouse: Offering breathtaking views of the Sea of Japan.
- Tamatsukuri Onsen: A famous hot spring resort with a history spanning over 1,300 years.
Distance: The island of Shikoku is accessible via ferries and bridges from the main island of Honshu. The closest city, Takamatsu, is about 350 kilometers from Yonago.
- Ritsurin Garden: Located in Takamatsu, this is one of the most celebrated gardens in Japan.
- Shikoku Pilgrimage: 88 Temple Pilgrimage, a spiritual journey that covers temples across the island.
- Iya Valley: A remote region known for its picturesque landscapes, historic vine bridges, and hot springs.
- Naruto Whirlpools: Witness the natural phenomenon of whirlpools in the Naruto Strait.
Distance: Around 230 kilometers from Yonago.
- Himeji Castle: A UNESCO World Heritage site and Japan’s most preserved and impressive feudal castle.
- Koko-en Garden: Located beside Himeji Castle, this garden consists of nine separate, walled gardens designed in various Edo Period styles.
- Shoshazan Engyoji: A historic temple complex featured in films, offering panoramic views of Himeji City.
Distance: Roughly 210 kilometers from Yonago.
- Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter: A picturesque area with preserved wooden warehouses alongside a beautiful canal.
- Ohara Museum of Art: The first Western art museum in Japan, housing pieces by Picasso, Monet, and El Greco.
- Ivy Square: A brick building complex covered in ivy, housing shops, restaurants, and a hotel.
Distance: About 270 kilometers from Yonago.
- Awaji Yumebutai: A complex designed by famous architect Tadao Ando, featuring gardens, terraces, and the Kiseki no Hoshi Botanical Museum.
- Nojima Fault Preservation Museum: Displays the effects of the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake.
- Awaji World Park Onokoro: An amusement park ideal for families, with attractions, rides, and a large Ferris wheel.
Distance: Roughly 150 kilometers from Yonago.
- Aquas Aquarium: An impressive marine aquarium showcasing species from the Sea of Japan.
- Iwami Kagura Traditional Dance: Experience this vibrant and traditional theatrical dance, native to the Shimane region.
- Sekisho Art Museum: A serene museum with rotating art exhibitions and a lovely garden.
Each of these destinations offers a distinctive taste of Japan, whether it’s the haunting history of Hiroshima, the artistic beauty of Matsue, the cultural richness of Kyoto, or the vibrant modernity of Osaka. Wherever you decide to go after Yonago, you’re sure to experience a wonderful blend of history, culture, nature, and urban sophistication that Japan offers in abundance. Safe travels!
Yonago Travel Guide: Final Thoughts
Yonago, though lesser-known to the average tourist, remains one of Japan’s hidden jewels, offering a blend of natural splendor, historic significance, and genuine cultural immersion. Its positioning as a gateway to both the sea and the mountains renders it a unique destination, ensuring experiences that range from tranquil to thrilling.
The most striking aspect of Yonago undoubtedly is its natural scenery. With the looming presence of Mount Daisen – the ‘Mount Fuji of the West’ – nature enthusiasts and trekkers find a haven here. The seasonal changes offer different hues – cherry blossoms in spring, lush greenery in summer, fiery foliage in autumn, and snow-draped landscapes in winter. Beyond the mountains, the Yumigahama Peninsula cradles the sea, creating picturesque coastlines and beaches.
Yonago’s history is as vast as its landscapes. From the age-old temples nestled in the mountains to the samurai districts and traditional residences, the city whispers tales of yesteryears at every corner. Walking through Yonago is akin to leafing through the pages of a living history book, where stories of feudal lords, ancient rituals, and bygone eras come alive.
Japanese cuisine is celebrated worldwide, and Yonago offers its unique flavors. The proximity to both mountains and the sea ensures a diverse menu – from mountain vegetables to fresh seafood. Savoring a meal here is not just about taste; it’s about experiencing the region’s essence.
Unlike some of the more tourist-centric cities, Yonago offers an undiluted cultural experience. Whether it’s participating in a traditional tea ceremony, watching a local Kagura dance performance, or simply conversing with the locals at a quaint izakaya, Yonago offers an authentic slice of Japanese life.
Ease of Exploration
Yonago’s charm also lies in its accessibility and compactness. The local transportation, from buses to bikes, ensures that travelers can explore its nooks and crannies with ease. Additionally, its position on the map makes it a favorable starting or midpoint for those aiming to explore the broader San’in region or other parts of Western Japan.
As our exploration suggests, Yonago serves as a beautiful prelude to the surrounding regions. Whether you’re venturing towards Tottori’s mesmerizing sand dunes, Hiroshima’s poignant peace memorials, or the spiritual aura of Shikoku, Yonago offers a grounding introduction to Japan’s multifaceted beauty.
In a world where travel destinations often echo familiarity, Yonago stands apart. It promises not just sights, but feelings; not just experiences, but memories. It’s a place where the modern intertwines seamlessly with the ancient, where every sunrise holds promise, and every sunset leaves an imprint on the heart.
For those who seek to truly understand and immerse themselves in Japan’s essence, away from the neon lights and bustling crowds, Yonago is more than a destination – it’s a journey. A journey into the heart of a culture, a history, and a way of life. As you depart from this beautiful city, you’ll leave with a fuller heart, a deeper understanding, and a longing to return. Safe travels, and may the spirit of Yonago remain with you always.