The city of Kurayoshi in central Tottori Prefecture features a historic charm that hearkens back to its medieval past. This small, modern city of 50,000 residents maintains its many old-style buildings and homes, and its grid of narrow streets and alleys that reflect Edo period roots. The literal translation of Kurayoshi is “lucky storehouse” in reference to the many soil-lacquered, red tile-roofed storehouses which still stand in the downtown area.
Today, many of these storehouses have been renovated as shops, while preserving their original exteriors. The storehouse district is also home to many traditional-style houses. Well-known for its many homemade soy sauce and sake brewing businesses, Kurayoshi attracts shoppers looking for traditional specialities crafted with care. Visitors can relax in nearby Utsubuki Park, considered one of the region’s finest places for springtime sakura-viewing, where they can drink in the scenery along the picturesque Tama River (not to mention the area’s fine home-brewed sake). Buses run from the downtown area to Sekigane Onsen, a popular bathing spot with mineral-rich hot-spring waters and a traditional decor that attract bathers from far and wide.
The castle and monasteries which once marked Kurayoshi are long gone, but reminders of older times in Kurayoshi still abound. Travelers looking for a glimpse of Japan’s past off the tourist track should be sure to visit and share in this lucky storehouse’s good fortune.
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