Car Tour in Tottori

We were blessed with perfect weather as we set out on our four-day trip across northern Tottori and into the Tanba-Sasayama area of Hyogo prefecture. I was particularly looking forward to visiting Hiroyuki’s home in the deep country of Wakasa ever since I found his site on AirBnB last year! It certainly lived up to my expectations and  the time we spent with his family was the high point of our trip!

With our host in Wakasa

With our host in Wakasa, in front of his home where we stayed

We arrived in the town of Chizu at around 11:00 Am. We parked and set off to visit the inn where samurai stayed during the era of sankin kotai, the Ishibashi residence. We had reserved lunch there and I enjoyed it at the very reasonable price of 800yen! I especially liked the salmon sushi served on persimmon leaves. Be sure to call a day ahead. 所在地/鳥取県八頭郡智頭町智頭396
TEL/0858-75-3500

Tottori Trip 088

Lunch at the restaurant inside Ishibashi residence, by reservation

I met Kiyoka at her gift shop near the parking area for Ishibashi residence. She is talented in making  Koke-dama plants! She seems to be active with other young people  in Nordic walking, and snow-treking and other adventures!

Clever artist Kiyoka at her gift shop

Clever artist Kiyoka at her gift shop

From there we went up the mountain on a very narrow and winding road to visit the tiny village called Itaibara. There is an old farmhouse with a straw thatched roof. Behind it, you will find the Hottori Cafe, run by Tomomi.

Itaibara village, Chizu-cho, Tottori

Itaibara village, Chizu-cho, Tottori

Hottori Cafe, Itaibara

Hottori Cafe, Itaibara

Irori fireplace at Hottori Cafe

Irori fireplace at Hottori Cafe

Original resident of this village told us many interesting stories!

Original resident of this village told us many interesting stories!

Hiroo and I shared a second “lunch” there and dessert, too! It was a lovely, quiet little space with nice atmosphere. An older resident who was born there in 1930 came up to the cafe and chatted with us about this place. Although Harada-san doesn’t live here year round, he comes to farm a plot of land by his family home.

Hottori Cafe Lunch

Hottori Cafe Lunch

After leaving here, we drove about 45 minutes to our room for the night in Miura, Wakasa-cho. I was glad to see Hiroyuki on hand to greet us. They have a lovely home surrounded by green fields and mountains!

Hiroyuki gives Hiroo a huge bag of homegrown dried shiitake mushrooms!!

Hiroyuki gives Hiroo a huge bag of homegrown dried shiitake mushrooms!!

The dinner Hiroyuki’s grandmother prepared for us was amazing! All naturally grown from her own garden! She served us seasonal dishes like kinome-ae and tarano me!

Lovingly prepared spring menu includes Kuri-okowa,kinome-ae, and tar-no-me!

Lovingly prepared spring menu includes Kuri-okowa,kinome-ae, and tara-no-me!

Her husband offered to show us the way to Fudoin, an ancient shrine built in a cave carved in the side of a mountain. This was my first experience with AirBnB and I feel so fortunate to have met Hiroyuki and his family!

Fudoin Temple, Wakasa

Fudoin Temple, Wakasa

Michiko-san said she was relieved that we spoke Japanese, but she has played host to guests from many countries, including Australia and China! The whole family were very welcoming to us and made our stay very special. It is something I will always remember! Thank you!

Hiroo and I in front of the inn at Hamamura Onsen

Hiroo and I in front of the inn at Hamamura Onsen

Leaving Wakasa, we drove to Tottori where we saw the sand dunes (no big deal), ate a disappointing lunch at the Tottori port ( Gyoko Ichiba) and ended up at he rather faded and rustic hot springs of at Hamamura. The inn we stayed at was older but very comfortable. We enjoyed the food and the service was very friendly! The owner saw us off and offered to snap our picture. I liked this onsen and would recommend it!(貝殻節の里 旅風庵)鳥取県鳥取市気高町勝見696-1 (0857-82-0531)

The third day of our trip took us into Hyogo prefecture and we headed for Tanba, famous for its black beans. On the way, we happened to stop to take a picture of an old wooden building. I wanted to stroll down a side street and so we happened on a Buddhist temple and read that the second Tokugawa ruler , Hidetada, had presented the lord of this domain with a lacquered tray and dishes ( in about 1620) .

Lacquered tray presented by Tokugawa

Lacquered tray presented by Tokugawa

The priest shows HIroo an very precious short dagger

The priest shows HIroo an very precious short dagger

Another item: saddle from 1700~

Another item: saddle from about 1600~ (山名宗全 使用)

Hiroo looked around and finally the priest came out dressed like any other person. He opened up the storehouse and showed us many treasures. He even opened the glass cabinet so I could get a better picture of the Tokugawa dishes. I was thrilled to be able to get so close to these 400 year-old treasures. I can’t believe how lucky we were to stumble on this  treasure trove that is not usually open to the public!

I was looking forward to lunch in an old farmhouse near Tanba. It was off the beaten path but we found it! The rice-filled omelet with beef sauce was so good! The owner, Takeshi Onoue, was very helpful and got out a map to show us which road to take as we continued onto Sasayama City.

with the proprietor of Genten, Takeshi Onoue

with the proprietor of Genten, Takeshi Onoue

Omu-rice at Genten Cafe, Tanba, Hyogo-ken

Omu-rice at Genten Cafe, Tanba, Hyogo-ken

See details of the cafe at https://www.facebook.com/cafe.genten

Finally we reached the town of Sasayama, where Tokugawa Ieyasu ordered a castle to be built in 1609, displacing the local lord, Hatano, whose entire family were later executed by orders from Oda Nobunaga. Necessary as a strategically located fort to defend the San-in area, the castle was completed in one year, an amazing feat! The original castle no longer stands, but the stonework and moat can be seen as well as a reconstructed Main Hall.

Stone foundation of Sasayama Castle

Stone foundation of Sasayama Castle

Dinner for

Breakfast for “seniors”

Our last meal, Tanba beef on rice and Japanese soba!

Our last meal, Tanba beef on rice and Japanese soba!

We stayed at the Shin Tanbaso Inn and got the special over 60 discount. I thought the food was excellent in spite of the advertisment saying it was a “light meal for older folk.” It certainly was more than we needed! and very tasty! I think this is operated by the prefecture so don’t expect anyone to carry your bags!新たんば荘 兵庫県篠山市郡家451-4

Owner of the tatami shop

Owner of the tatami shop

Tottori Trip 461

We had a great trip,and met some interesting people. Sasayama was a sleepy little town with not much going on, but we enjoyed strolling along the Kawaramachi Yome-iri area. Hiroo talked to a 95 year-old woman who runs the tatami mat shop.

All in all , we had a wonderful time, but the best was staying with Hiroyuki’s family! I really had a nice time with you all. Thank you again for your kindness and hospitality!!

Tottori Trip 176

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. keiko
    May 23, 2015 @ 13:07:41

    お元気そうなリア先生!車での旅行はあちこちより道ができていいですよね!
    遠いですが、こちらにもぜひいらしてくださいね!
    私は、引っ越しの日広島を夕方四時過ぎに出て、日付が変わったころ鹿児島に着きました。一人で運転したので大変疲れましたが、一人でもここまで来れるんだと自信がつきました。

    Reply

  2. leahmama1
    May 23, 2015 @ 22:44:56

    すごい!わたしは一人で高速に乗れない!!鳥取でもずっと主人が運転。楽しかった。ピアノの生徒をたくさん来ていますか?息子さんもしっかり大人になったでしょう!

    Reply

  3. keiko
    May 25, 2015 @ 13:30:39

    生徒さん、立地が良いのか広島の時の人数をこえました。活気のある教室になりつつあります。 下は1歳から上は72歳のかたまで・・・  私も日々勉強しています。わが子も中2になりました。 英語が好きな教科みたいです。 ブログ、楽しみにしています!

    Reply

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