A journey back to the roots of Japan! Explore the mountain-shaded coasts of Kyoto, Hyogo, and Tottori

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Written by Editorial department

Facing the sea to the north rests the breathtaking views of the Kyoto, Hyogo, and Tottori coasts; sightseeing spots that take you back to the roots of Japan are plentiful.

This area of Kyoto is home to many stunningly picturesque sights, including Amanohashidate, one of Japan's three most famous sights. Then there’s Hyogo, which is increasingly popular with tourists for its open air hot springs—which are best enjoyed while watching the snow fall in winter. Tottori, on the other hand, as the birthplace of world-renowned manga artists Mizuki Shigeru and Aoyama Goushou, has many manga related spots to see, as well as the Tottori Sand Dunes.

Recognized as a UNESCO Global Geopark in 2010, the area has since been garnering a lot of positive global attention.

A rent-a-car is recommended whether you want to explore the precious terrain and geological attractions or enjoy the time-honoured environment and food culture of the three prefectures.

(1)Amanohashidate (Kyoto)

First on the list is Kyoto’s Amanohashidate, which roughly means "bridge across heaven" The 3.6km sandbar, lined with over 8000 pine trees, is an entrancing sight. The views from Amanohashidate View Land and Kasamatsu Park are particularly exquisite. This area is set up to be the perfect go-at-your-own-pace getaway. After looking around on foot or by rent-a-cycle, if you decide you want to take the tempo down a notch there’s a number of hot springs, restaurants, and old shrines nearby.

Address: Monju, Mannen, Ogaki, and Nakano, Miyazu City, Kyoto
Tel:0772-22-8030(Amanohashidate Station Tourist Information Center)
Admission fee:Free

(2)Ine Funaya (Kyoto)

Once you’ve had your fill of Amanohashidate, you might visit the Ine Funaya, or boat houses, which are a 40-minute drive away. With 230 unique boat houses lining the shore, it’s something you won’t see every day in Japan. From an excursion boat, the houses floating on the water are quite the whimsical sight.

【Ine Funaya】
Address:Hirata, Ine-cho, Yosa-gun, Kyoto
Tel:0772-32-0277(Ine-cho Tourist Association)
Admission fee:Free

(3)Kannabe Kogen(Hyogo)

Next up, why not head to Kannabe Kogen for a day of skiing or snowboarding—there’s a 120-minute scenic drive in it for you too! A broad array of fun awaits everyone, from beginner to pro, at these three ski resorts. And in the summer, you can experience the Geopark in the peak of its glory: a volcanic crater, trekking, paragliding, and more!

【Kannabe Kogen】
Address:Hidaka-cho, Toyooka City, Hyogo
Tel:0769-45-0800(Hidaka Kannabe Tourism Association)
Admission fee:Manba and Oku Kannabe Ski Resorts: (1-day pass) Adult 4,500 yen, JHS student/Senior 3,500 yen, Child 2,500 yen
Up Kannabe Ski Resort: (1-day pass) Adult 4,500 yen, (Weekdays 3,500 yen), Child 3,000 yen (Saturday 2,500 yen)
※Price of lift pass

(4)Yumura Hot Springs(Hyogo)

A 40-minute drive from Kannabe Kogen, your next stop might be Hyogo's Yumura Hot Springs. While taking pride in their copious variety of hot springs, they are most famous for their water that is said to make your skin soft and beautiful. This would be a good place to stop overnight to relax and recharge before continuing with your travels.

【Yumura Hot Springs】
Address:98 Yu, Shinonsen-cho, Mikata-gun, Hyogo
Tel:0796-92-2000(Yumura Hot Spring Tourism Association)
Admission fee:Fee varies

(5)Tottori Sand Dunes(Tottori)

Next, you won't want to miss the Tottori Sand Dunes, which are another 80 minutes away by car. Come frolic around Japan's largest sand dunes and partake in some of the unique experiences available, such as sightseeing camel rides, sky sports, and more.

【Tottori Sand Dunes】
Address:Yuyama, Fukube-cho, Tottori City, Tottori
Tel:0857-22-0581 (Tottori Sand Dunes Office)
Admission fee:Free

(6)Mizuki Shigeru Road(Tottori)

Another 60-minute drive will bring you to your final stop: Mizuki Shigeru Road. This street is lined with bronze statues of the 153 yokai, or demons/spirits from Japanese folklore, which have made appearances in Mizuki Shigeru's mangas.

【Mizuki Shigeru Road】
Address:Matsugae-cho, Taisho-machi, and Honmachi, Sakaiminato City, Tottori
Tel:0859-47-0121(Sakaiminato City Tourism Association)
Admission fee:Free

We’ve shared our idea of the perfect 2 day 1 night trip above, but there's still so much more to see; the area is a sightseeing goldmine! If you can spare a couple more days, we have one more spot per area we think you would find worth visiting.

【Tateiwa Rock】

For example, Kyoto’s Tateiwa Rock, one of the largest natural crags in Japan. Measuring 20m in height and over 1km around, it towers above the ocean with majestic poise. The surrounding area is equally beautiful too; it’s popular for swimming in the summer and hot springs and crab in the winter.

【Tateiwa Rock】
Address:Taiza, Tango-cho, Kyotango City, Kyoto
Tel:0772-62-6300(Kyotango City Tourism Association)
Admission fee:Free

【Tajima Kogen Botanical Garden - Kamakura Restaurant & Bar】

This is one of Hyogo’s top winter attractions: the Tajima Kogen Botanical Garden’s Kamakura Restaurant & Bar. It’s not everywhere you can enjoy barbequing Tajima beef inside a quaint little kamakura, or Japanese-style igloo.

【Tajima Kogen Botanical Garden - Kamakura Restaurant & Bar】
Address:709 Wachi, Muraokaku, Kami-cho, Mikata-gun, Hyogo
Business hours:12:00-21:00(December 23~March 21) ※Subject to change due to snow conditions
Closed:Thursday (Open on Christmas Eve, during New Year’s holidays, and public holidays)
Price range:Kamakura barbeque from 4,000 yen ※Reservations required

【Mt. Mitoku Sanbutsuji Temple/Nageiredo Hall】

This sensational temple, built into the side of a precipitous cliff, is a sight like no other. A visit to this registered national treasure can't be recommended enough!

【Mt. Mitoku Sanbutsuji Temple/Nageiredo Hall】
Address:1010 Mitoku, Misasa-cho, Tohaku-gun, Tottori
Business hours:8:00-15:00 ※Entry prohibited during stormy weather and the winter season
Admission fee:Adult 600 yen, Elementary/JHS student 300 yen

This gorgeous coastal region is abundant with must-see spots: countless natural landscapes to see, a time-honoured environment to experience, and a food culture to enjoy. There are many memories to be made in this underrated area of Japan, all you have to do is take the time to plan a trip—you won't regret it!