Japanese manga artist Mizuki Shigeru’s popular ghost series “GeGeGe no Kitaro” brought many of the “yokai” of Japanese folklore—monsters and spirits of the supernatural world—to life as beloved, cutesified characters. Today, the artist’s hometown of Sakaiminato in Tottori Prefecture has embraced his work by creating a local yokai treasure hunt.
This sleepy little town’s main street, Mizuki Shigeru Road, is filled with over 150 small bronze statues of the ghost-like characters, each with a handy QR code to find out more about them.
The yokai-spotting fun begins as soon as you step out of the train at the Sakaiminato station. The most fun way to get to the town is on the colorful “ghost train,” complete with a glaring eyeball on the front and a creepy version of the typical Japanese railway station announcements.
At the train station, you can pick up a treasure hunt book from the information center at the train station, then the yokai hunt can begin. You can’t really miss them; many are located next to shops that will give out stamps for the book. If you find them all, bring the stamp book back to the station for a prize.
But even apart from the ghost hunt, you’ll notice nods to yokai everywhere in Sakaiminato. There’s a museum dedicated to them, a huge stone eyeball in the local shrine, yōkai manhole covers, and even eyeball street lights. Kids will love collecting the stamps, and adults will probably admit to enjoying stumbling on these adorable sculptures, too.
Know Before You Go
To get to Sakaiminato from Tottori, take the Tottori Liner (a 90-minute trip) or Limited Express Super Matsukaze (60 minutes) from Tottori to Yonago, and then the Sakai line to Sakaiminato (43 minutes). Some trains on the line are yokai-themed, others standard. From the train station, walk down the main street, Mizuki Shigeru Road, to spot the statues.