National park with mountains and the sea where visitors can enjoy a wide range of activities
Daisen-Oki National Park is Japan’s third historic national park located in the Chugoku district in western Japan. It stretches across three prefectures, namely Tottori, Shimane, and Okayama, and is divided into four areas with distinctive features. It is blessed with diverse naturally created terrains, such as the sea, mountains, forests, and highlands where you can enjoy a wide range of activities in nature. It is at the forefront of Japanese myths, and you can experience Japanese culture, for example, paying homage at a historical shrine.
The starting point to reach each area by land is JR Yonago Station, which can be accessed by limited express in about 2 hours and 15 minutes from JR Okayama Station, where the shinkansen stops. Go further into the Okinoshima area by ship. Flights depart from Tokyo (Haneda), Osaka (Itami), Nagoya (Komaki), and others to Izumo Airport, which is near Shimane Peninsula and Mt. Sanbe area. Other flights depart from Tokyo to Yonago Airport, which is convenient for travel to Mt. Daisen, Mt. Hiruzen, and Mt. Mitoku areas as well as the Oki area.
Mt. Daisen, Mt. Hiruzen, and Mt. Mitoku areas (map (1)): A mountain range that exudes a sacred atmosphere
There are three highlights in the Mt. Daisen, Mt. Hiruzen, and Mt. Mitoku areas, which spread from Tottori to Okayama. First, Mt. Daisen is a particularly famous spot, the highest mountain in the Chugoku district, situated in the southwestern part of Tottori. At 1,729 m (about 1,891 yards) above sea level, this mountain is about a one hour bus ride from JR Yonago Station, and has been renowned as the residence of a god since ancient times. It has abundant nature, such as vast beech forests with beautiful foliage in a variety of colors in fall, such as yellow and red. Shrines and temples, such as Daisen-ji Temple and Ogamiyama Shrine, are located at the foot of the mountain. It is also known as a place where you can encounter many kinds of wild birds.
At Mt. Hiruzen, a highland resort where pastoral scenery unfolds, cycling roads are well developed in the grasslands overlooking the majestic mountain, and many tourist attractions such as ranches can be spotted in the area. Rental bicycles and cycling guide tours to the points of interest are also available.
Mt. Mitoku in Tottori is a place for the ascetic practices of mountain religions, and the overall mountain is part of Sanbutsu-ji Temple. Mountain roads to pay homage to Nageiredo, a national treasure on the cliffs of the hillside, are very steep. Therefore, you need to prepare for mountain climbing, and cannot enter during winter and rainy weather. From Nageiredo Yohaijo at the foot of the mountain, you can see Nageiredo with a telescope anytime. To visit Mt. Mitoku, take a limited express from JR Yonago Station for about 35 minutes, get off at JR Kurayoshi Station, and change to a bus for about 40 minutes. You can enjoy the hot spring at Mitoku Onsen, at the foot of the mountain.
Oki area (map (2)): Enjoy nature trekking on isolated islands
The Oki area consists of about 180 islands called Oki Islands floating off Shimane Peninsula. Distinctive living creatures inhibit this group of green, isolated islands created by strong waves, such as Hynobius Okiensis, and it was designated as Global Geopark. To go to the main four islands, namely Dogojima, Nishinoshima, Nakanoshima and Chiburijima, you can take a train and a bus from JR Yonago Station for about an hour, and change to a ferry or high-speed ship in Sakai-minato Port and others. For Dogojima, flights depart from Osaka (Itami) Airport and Izumo Airport.
One of the highlights is Kuniga Coast of Nishinoshima. Take a sightseeing boat, and look up at Matengai from the sea, where 257 m (843 ft) high cliffs rise, pass Tsutenkyo, an oddly shaped arched rock, and cruise in Akekure-no-Iwaya, a sea cave where water is colored in blue in the sunlight.
Dogojima is also a very attractive place. From Shirashimasaki, a cape at the northern end of the island, you can see beautiful scenery of the blue ocean and islands. Jyodogaura is popular for sea kayaking and sea bathing. Go trekking in Oki Shizen-Kaiki-no-Mori Forest, which exudes a mysterious atmosphere, and see the Chichi Sugi Cedar, a huge tree that is eight hundred years old.
Shimane Peninsula area (map (3)): Enjoy complex and magnificent terrain created by waves
In Shimane Peninsula area, encounter magnificent seaside art created by nature, such as complex inlets and cliffs. There are also many points of interest, such as temples and shrines.
Hinomisaki of Izumo is a famous tourist attraction in the western part of the peninsula. From Hinomisaki Todai, 44 m (144 ft) in height, at the tip of the cape with continuous cliffs, view a 360-degree panorama. As a travel plan, visit Izumo Taisha, a shrine renowned in Japan for the fulfillment of love. To visit Hinomisaki, take a limited express from JR Yonago Station for about 50 minutes, change to a bus at JR Izumoshi Station, and arrive in the area in about one hour. Izumo Taisha can be accessed by bus in about 25 minutes from Izumoshi Station.
In Matsue, in the eastern part of the peninsula, enjoy watching unique terrains from a sightseeing boat. View diverse coastal scenery including Kagano Kukedo, a mysterious coastal cave which is the mythical birthplace of a god. Also visit Matsue Castle, which was designated as a national treasure in the city. JR Matsue Station can be accessed by train in about 30 minutes from JR Yonago Station, or in about 30 minutes from JR Izumoshi Station.
* Cruising on the Kukedo course is regularly available. Reservation by telephone is required for the Takobana course (only available in Japanese). Cruising will be cancelled in cases of bad weather for both courses.
Mt. Sanbe area (map (4)): Enjoy a beautiful mountain in all four seasons by selecting your climbing route
Mt. Sanbe is a volcano located in the central part of Shimane Prefecture. Take a limited express from JR Yonago Station for about 30 minutes, change to a bus at Odashi Station for about 40 minutes. In addition to the main peak at 1,126 m (1,231 ft) above sea level, six peaks spread across the range. Six climbing routes are available depending on your physical strength and the season, including short routes to climb quickly using a sightseeing chairlift, and routes to pass through forests and grassland. A wide range of flowers bloom from early spring to late fall, and visitors can freely enjoy climbing, hiking, and camping.