Zoni is a Japanese New Year’s Feast and it has different flavors and ingredients depending on the region. However, the one of Tottori is completely different from other regions! It makes even Japanese people outside of Tottori surprised. What’s the taste of Tottori Zoni?
What kind of place is Tottori Prefecture?
North of Tottori Prefecture faces the Japan Sea and the Chugoku Mountains are on the southern side. Both mountains and sea can be enjoyed in this Prefecture. Tottori has 2 national parks, the World Geopark and the Wetland Designated Ramsar Convention. Tottori is blessed with rich nature, beautiful sceneries at all seasons and amazing food.
Access to the city of Tottori
Arriving by airplane:
[To East and Center of Tottori]Approximately 1h 15min from Haneda Airport to Tottori Sand Dunes Conan Airport and 20 mins from the airport to Tottori station by airport bus.
[To West of Tottori]Approximately 1h 20min from Haneda to Yonago Kitaro Airport and another 25 mins to Yonago station by airport bus.
Arriving by train:
[To East and Center of Tottori]Approximately 4h 50min from Tokyo to Himeji station by bullet train, transferring to the Super Hakuto Express to Tottori station. It takes an extra 40 mins to Kurayoshi station.
[To West of Tottori]Approximately 5h 30min from Tokyo to Okayama station by bullet train, then transfer to the Yakumo Express to Yonago station.
Arriving by bus:
Approximately 8h to 10h from Tokyo station to the city of Tottori, Kurayoshi, Yonago.
Arriving by car:
Approximately 7h 40min from Tokyo to the city of Tottori, 8h 10-20mins to Kurayoshi and Yonago.
Three Must-see places in Tottori Prefecture
Tottori Sand Dunes
The wind makes it look artistically like sandy waves. This is the only coastal dunes that is designated as a natural monument in the country. It is worth seeing the amazing view which has been made for over 100,000 years. There is “The sand museum” nearby as well.
Mt.Mitoku Sanbutsuji Temple Tonyudo
It’s a mystery how this temple was built on this cliff!! There is a famous building called “Tonyudo” which is designated as a national treasure in this temple. It is legendarily said that 1300 years ago, En no Ozuno, who is a founder of Shugendo, threw the building to the cliff with his spiritual power and it stated to be called “Tonyudo” (Tonyu means throwing) since then. You need to climb a rough mountain path to see the actual building but it can be seen by telescope from the bottom of the mountain.
Daisenji Temple / Mt. Daisen
Mt. Daisen is designated as the third national park with lots of beech trees. Many tourists come to see the precious animals and plants. Daisanji temple has a long history of 1300 years. Many events will be held in 2018 to celebrate the 1300-year anniversary.
Three Must-eat dishes in Tottori Prefecture
Tottori is the number one prefecture to catch crabs in Japan and call themselves “Kani Tori Ken” (Kani means crabs). Especially Matsuba crabs (male of snow crabs) best taste during the wintertime, as the crab shell is packed with lots of crab meat that have a delicate flavor. It can be cooked and enjoyed either like Sashimi, grilled, steamed, boiled and more!
Mosa Shrimps can be caught from autumn to early summer and can only be eaten locally. The amazing sweetness can be savored in Sashimi style or in a Miso soup with a rich shrimp flavor.
Iwagaki (Japanese rock oysters )
Winter is usually the best season for oysters but the perfect season to eat Iwagaki in Tottori Prefecture is summer. Tottori’s Iwagaki are natural, huge oysters that were captured by Ama (woman shell diver) and fisherman. The Iwagaki that has grown for over 4 years are called “milk of the sea.”
Three Must-buy Souvenirs of Tottori Prefecture
Tottori Prefecture is all about pears! Especially a kind of pear named “Nijisseiki Nashi” has an over 100 year-history and Tottori is the top producer of pears in Japan. The pears have a nice texture and refreshingly sweet and rich flavor. Also Natsuhime and other new kinds of pears are made from Nijisseiki. Jelly, ice cream, vinegar are popular for souvenirs too.
Chikuwa (Japanese fish cake in the shape of a tube)
Tottori’s Chikuwa is different from other regions in Japan. It’s made from flying fish and has a strong texture and nice smoky flavor. Also Tofu Chikuwa which is softer than the usual Chikuwa is another famous product.
So many hand crafts that make our life easier and better are made in Tottori prefecture. Shoya Yoshida was inspired by Muneyoshi (also known as “Soetsu”) Yanagi’s Mingei (Folk craft) movement 90 years ago and Shoya Yoshida started the movement in his home Tottori. Many different craftsmen were trained and the spirit of the craftsmanship still exists.
The Dialect of Tottori Prefecture
The dialects of Tottori Prefecture are classified into Inshu-ben in the eastern part, Kurayoshi-ben in the central part and Unpaku dialect in the western part.
The dialects in the 「Inshu-ben」 and 「Kurayoshi-ben」 are similar but the dialect in the 「Unpaku dialect」 is completely different.
Wattaina … Surprised, Surprisingly, Amazing (East of Tottori)
Dondoroke … Lightning, Thunder (East of Tottori)
Gaina … Huge, Many (West of Tottori)
Dandan … Thank you (West of Tottori)
Darazu … Stupid (All over the prefecture)
Why don’t you visit Tottori to enjoy the excellent seafood and the sand dunes made by a long history.
「Tottori Tabi no Nama Joho」Tottori Prefecture official tourism information Site.