Houses almost on top of the water in Yonago, Japan.
Asia,  Destinations,  Japan,  Travel Diary

Up the mountain in Yonago, Japan

Last year, I took a leisurely route from Osaka to Fukuoka and stopped by a few places near and around Hiroshima. At the time there was a discounted bus ticket from Hiroshima to a small hot springs town a few hours north, so I decided to head up there for a few days. My first stop was Yonago, a small coastal town of about 150,000 people.

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Day 1: From Hiroshima to Yonago

The bus dropped me off in Matsue, where I stashed my backpack at the nearby train station and did a bit of sightseeing. I ended up coming back to Matsue to stay for a few days, so I’ll save that sightseeing info for the next post.

In the afternoon, I took the local train from Matsue to Yonago. I of course snagged a stamp from the station when I arrived:

A person holding a notebook showing a stamped image. The stamp features the Train clock tower outside of Yonago station.

I booked a stay at Good Bless Garden Sauna&Stay, a capsule hotel with huge sleeping pods, each big enough to be almost like a mini room. Each pod had a desk and chair, plus a bed and a decent sized-space to stand and get ready. Everyone got an amenities set which included pajamas (a new pair every night!) plus bathroom stuff. The shared spaces were huge, clean, and had a lot of useful things for travelers.

Like most capsule hotels I’ve stayed at here in Japan, there was an unfortunate amount of light pollution coming into my pod. The mattress was also SUPER hard, so I slept on top of the duvet for a bit more cushion and used my big scarf as blanket.

The area surrounding the hotel was so interesting, a combination of retro-worn out stuff with modern street art and upcycled decor.

Click to enlarge photos:

Day 2: Up the Mountain

Had a leisurely morning and didn’t get out until close to 11:00 am. Took the direct route to the castle ruins, so picked up a late breakfast/early lunch from the AEON supermarket next door and headed down the road. Found a nice sitting area outside of a government building and ate a fairly good egg/ham sandwich (with cucumbers!). Japanese convenience store food tastes the best of all the ones I’ve tried around the world, and it usually isn’t too expensive, either!

The Yonago castle ruins are on top of a hill (/mountain), and you have to climb it to get there.

There are routes several depending on which direction you’re coming from, but the easiest is to go through the part where the parking lot is (米子城 内膳丸跡 登り口 on Google Maps). MY Google Maps took me to the side of the hill, which is the hardest route (damn you, Google Maps!).

That side of the mountain is the Buddha trail route (城山大師 四国八十八ヶ所石仏めぐり), which has a lot of Buddha statues all along it. Also, lots and lots of steps. The sun was out and it got very warm, and of course I had too many layers on and no sunscreen. I’ll remember to pack my sunscreen stick in my purse next time.

Views from the top were worth the climb, though the ruins themselves were just alright. Japanese castles are always smaller than expected, and the ruins tend to be very small as well. The Yonago castle ruins are basically now a picnicking area, and there were a bunch of locals up there having lunch.

Highlights of the summit: seeing Mt something-or-other in the distance, the guy who had a whole camping kitchen set up, hearing the reggae music coming from the harbor area.

By the time I got back down I was totally exhausted and really just wanted to chill in my capsule, so I returned back to the hotel, ate some ramen, and then watched Netflix for a while.

Click to enlarge photos:

Day 3: Exploring Yonago

This was a day for meandering! Yonago actually has a ton of public art and really nice places to walk around, both in the city parts and the “country” parts. I basically did a loop from my hotel down to the water and back, which you can see in the photo gallery below.

Some things I went out to see:

  • Train clock tower, Yonago station
  • River walk from the convention center up to Minatoyama Park, where there’s dozens of statues and modern art installations
  • Minatoyama Park and the zoo (which had miserable monkeys in a cage)
  • Observation deck on the other side of the mountain where the Buddha Trail is
  • Yonago City Children Culture Center park and outdoor artwork
  • Kappa Statues and blossoms near Tenjin Bridge

It was a lovely day and I had a great time walking around!

Click to enlarge the photos:

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Asia 2023 Travel Diaries

Journal date: March 18-20, 2023

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3.5 days in Matsue

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Anastasia is a former librarian turned digital nomad. She's been traveling the world full time for two years and has visited 18 countries so far! Just Gone Wandering is a travel resource for solo female travelers on a backpacker's budget-- or slightly more-- and highlights amazing places to visit as well as providing tips and tricks for traveling smart and frugal. Read more...

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