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North by northwest: Sakaiminato, Tottori

Sakaiminato in Tottori

Sakaiminato is a port city in Tottori prefecture.
“Sakai” means “border” in Japanese, and “Minato” is “port”.

It is famous for a Japanese cartoonist called “Shigeru Mizuki”.
(“Shigeru” is his first name.)
He grew up there.
His best known work is “Ge ge ge no Kitaro”, and the city has a street called “The Mizuki Shigeru Road”, which is dedicated to the work with more than hundred statues of its characters.

It’s a small city, and to be honest, I didn’t feel there are very many things to see.
If you don’t know anything about the cartoonist, probably this is not the place to visit.
However, maybe it’s not fair for me to say this, as I stayed there only for a few hours.
I just walked around “The Mizuki Shigeru Road” and the sea side, then I thought “I’ve seen enough”.

According to the official website, there seems to be museums and fish markets.

How to get there

From Okayama station, take a limited express train on “Hakubi Line” to get to “Yonago”. (About 2 hours and 10 min.)
Then change train at “Yonago” for “Sakai Line”. (About 45 min.)
“Sakaiminato” is the terminal of the line.

There is an express bus as well from Okayama to Yonago.
It runs 7 times per day and costs cheaper than train.
It takes about 2 hours and a half.

Sakaiminato city

The highlight of the city is “The Mizuki Shigeru Road”, so all the photos were taken in the street.

Kitaro2

- "You-ka Medama Oyaji" (lit. Monster sweets: Eyeball Dad) -

– About “You-ka Medama Oyaji” –
This is the very reason I visited the city.
As soon as I saw a photo of this in a travel guidebook, I strongly felt “I’ve got to eat this!”

It’s a Japanese sweet filled with “an-ko” (red bean paste).
Rather expensive (now 350 yen, about three dollars) and its taste was not extraordinary, but it didn’t matter.
It was important to eat up “Medama Oyaji” at “The Mizuki Shigeru Road”.

It is made by “Saiundo” (Japanese website), a Japanese sweet company in Matsue of Shimane prefecture, which was founded in 1874.
Sold at “Youkai Shokuhin Kenkyuujyo” (Monster Food Lab.), which locates beside “Mizuki Shigeru Museum”.
The official website with funny (or strange?) photos are here.
Open from 9:30 to 17:00, but it may be sold out before the closing time.

Kitaro1

- Sign for toilet -
From the left to right: Kitaro, Neko-musume (lit. Cat-girl) and Medama Oyaji (lit. Eyeball Dad)

Kitaro4

- "Medama Oyaji" street lamp -

Kitaro3

- Stone sculpture of "Medama Oyaji" in a bowl -
Medama Oyaji loves bathing in a rice bowl.

Kitaro6

- "Kitaro Taxi" -
See "Medama Oyaji" light(?) on the roof.

Kitaro5

- Three bronze sculptures -
The biggest one which is swimming in the water is the carving of Nezumi-otoko (lit. Rat-man), one of the most famous character of "Ge ge ge no Kitaro".
I can not distinguish other two.

Why so many “Medama Oyaji” photos?
It’s just because he is my favourite character.

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kara

A Japanese living in Okayama. A proud "Otaku"! Loves animals, snacks, manga, games (PC, iPad, Nintendo DS, PSP), foreign TV dramas, traveling and football (soccer).

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