Road Trip on Sanin Main Line and Sakai Line (Part 2)

Japan Hour

Japan Hour - Summer
Road Trip on Sanin Main Line and Sakai Line


Japan Hour:

Road Trip on Sanin Main Line and Sakai Line (Part 2)

Our trip on the JR San'in Line and Sakai Line in Tottori Prefecture continues. On the second day, we have breakfast at our inn, Kasuitei at Kaikei Hot Springs. It includes sandfish and mackerel from the Sea of Japan, and pickled scallions.

We go to Yonago Station, which connects the JR San'in Line and JR Sakai Line. We travelled on the JR San'in Line the previous day so we will ride on the Sakai Line on the second day. The railway line opened in 1902 and is famous for its train cars inspired by Yokai, which are supernatural Japanese monsters. The characters - which include Kitaro, Cat Girl, Eyeball Father, Ittan-Momen and Rat Man - come from manga series GeGeGe no Kitaro. Six different Yokai trains operate on the Sakai Line. This railway line ends at Sakaiminato City, the hometown of the series’ creator, Shigeru Mizuki.

We first go to Sambommatsuguchi Station, four stations ahead, on the Kitaro train. Its seats have Kitaro designs on them too. We arrive in 10 minutes and want to explore the area for about two hours. We ask a local about a famous spot and he tells us about Kisaragi Corp, which manufactures, sells and distributes merchandise related to GeGeGe no Kitaro. We also find out that there is a place called Shigeru Mizuki Road in Sakaiminato City. It has become a popular site for tourism. The store near Sambommatsuguchi Station sells about 500 kinds of Kitaro merchandise, including T-shirts, towels, candies, memo pads, toys and body pillows. We buy a bag of Yokai merchandise as souvenirs before heading back to the station.

From Sambommatsuguchi Station, we catch the 11.45am to Yonago Airport Station. This time, we ride on the Cat Girl train. After 20 minutes, we reach the station. We ask a gentleman to recommend a place to eat. He suggests Shinraiken and offers to drive us there. The Chinese restaurant opened in 1972 and its most popular dishes include rice topped with shrimp and egg, and stir-fried noodles served with a thick starchy sauce.

After lunch, we are given a ride back to the station and we travel two stops ahead to Takamatsucho Station by the 1.50pm train. The train ride takes about five minutes. At Takamatsucho, a local resident tells us about Modern Coffee, a cafe located between Nakahama Station and Yonago Airport Station. This means we have to walk back towards Nakahama Station. However, after walking for 40 minutes, we are still unable to find the place so we have no choice but to shelve our plan to visit the cafe. This time, we walk towards Amariko, the station after Takamatsucho.

Along the way, we pass by a white leek packing house and ask about interesting spots. We are told about Wing, a coffee shop nearby with a Showa-era atmosphere. Opened in 1980, its speciality is a mixed juice made from apple, yellow peach, banana and tangerine. After this, we head to Amariko Station and catch the 4.15pm train to Sakaiminato Station, the last stop on Sakai Line. We go to Shigeru Mizuki Road, which is lined with stores selling Yokai merchandise. The shopping street has been around for 25 years and now attracts more than two million visitors each year.

We drop by a confectionery shop called Tatsumiya. Opened more than 70 years ago, it specialises in traditional Japanese snacks. Nearly 25 kinds of old-fashioned treats are sold here, such as seaweed candy and ginger rice crackers. The store is managed by 85-year-old Ms Tatsumi. She suggests we also visit the Kyokuno Footwear Shop, which sells Kitaro wooden clogs.

Established in 1915, Kyokuno used to be a general goods store but later started selling footwear, especially wooden clogs. They have lovely designs and pictures of Kitaro drawn on them by the owner who uses thin bamboo skewers. The shop also sells tall wooden clogs, which are believed to strengthen your core and improve your balance. In fact, Nao Kodaira, a speed skating gold medallist at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics, incorporated single tooth wooden clogs from the store during her training.


1)      The JR Sakai Line is popular among fans of manga series GeGeGe no Kitaro for its Yokai-themed trains
2)      To get a taste of traditional Japanese snacks, check out Tatsumiya near Sakaiminato