Japan: Chugoku Region / Tottori (Daisen)

Now that I reside in Southern California where everything is green year round (well, brown now due to the drought), I appreciate the changing of the seasons even more. One of my favorite places to observe the changing of the seasons is Japan. Depending on the time of your visit you can enjoy the blooming of the sakura (cherry blossoms), the changing of the momiji leaves (Japanese maple) or ski down one of Japan’s many slopes as there are countless ski resorts throughout the country.

One place in Japan that offers all of these options is Daisen (大山町) located in the Saihaku District in the Tottori Prefecture.  The focal point of the town is Mt. Daisen, a volcanic mountain which stands at an elevation of 1,729 meters (5,672 feet) making it the tallest mountain in the Chugoku Region. They sometimes refer to the mountain as Saihaku Fuji as it resembles Mt. Fuji when viewed from the northwest side, especially when the top of the mountain is snow-capped.

Beech Forest

Beech Forest

The entire area is designated as Daisen-Oki National Park and Mt. Daisen itself was selected as the third greatest summits in Japan following Mt. Fuji and Mt. Yari (Yarigatake). During the spring and summer months, hikers descend upon the area drawn to the natural beauty created by the vast greenery, budding trees and blooming flowers. Mt. Daisen is also renown for having Japan’s premier beech forest. In fall, visitors comes to admire the changing foliage and the winter months draw droves of skiers to the area’s resorts. As a matter of fact, Daisen is considered to be the best skiing area in southwest Japan.

From October through November, the foliage is ablaze with red, yellow and orange and there is no better place to experience this than the Ogamiyama Shrine (大神山神社). Located above the Daisenji, the shrine’s stone paved path is considered to be the longest approach in Japan measuring 700 meters (2296 feet).

Daisenji

Daisenji

Daisenji Garden

Daisenji Garden

Ogamiyama Shrine

Ogamiyama Shrine

You can also travel down to the town of Mizokuchi which is home to the Oni Museum (demon). The museum caters primarily to children but they have a nice collection of oni masks not only from Japan but all over the world that are worth seeing. Mizokuchi is 11.8 km away (approximately 7 miles).

The nearest city to Mt. Daisen is Yonago. There are direct flights from Tokyo’s Haneda Airport into Yonago Airport.  Alternatively, you can also take the Sunrise Izumo night train which runs between Tokyo and Izumo, exit Yonago Station.

Web page:         http://en.go-to-japan.jp/daisenguide/

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