3 Surprising Eats and Drinks in Kurayoshi, Tottori
From a cat selling roasted sweet potatoes to 12-colored cuisine, this historical city in Tottori is full of surprises.
You’ll find the spirit of the people here is strong and they adhere to the traditional way of life. That’s expertly on display at Shirakabe Dozo Gun — a historical Meiji-era setting of white-walled warehouses and a place you can spend all day exploring. In between, why not try out these unique foods and drinks for a spot of cultural refreshment.
1. Drink and grind your own coffee at Kura
With traditional scenery, you’ll be greeted by wooden buildings parallel to the street-side Tama River with koi fish maneuvering to and fro. It offers more than scenery, though. Have fun strolling around various boutiques, kimono shops with indigo handmade garments, sake shops and traditional restaurants.
You can even visit a coffee shop called Kura, where you can hand-grind your own coffee. Kura is a quaint spot for a delicious Japanese-style cup o’ joe, not to mention an instance of the town’s lasting charm. The hand-ground coffee gives the shop an amazing aroma. Don’t forget to order the coffee set that gives you adzuki beans to add to your coffee for sweetness instead of cream and sugar!
Address: 1-2424-2 Shinmachi, Kurayoshi-shi, Tottori. Open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
2. Meet a cat who runs a baked sweet potato food truck
Among the tradition is a surprise in the form of the gem of all hidden gems — a joyously weird and very friendly cat character. “Mike” (pronounced me-keh in Japanese) has been an unsung hero of local tourism for more than three years. He is just your friendly neighborhood yaki-imo (baked sweet potato) selling guy in a catsuit with strikingly real features. Underneath the suit, when he winks, so the does the cat. When he talks, the cat’s mouth move perfectly in sync.
We are still baffled as to if this is just his hobby, or if he is a guerilla marketing genius. But here in Kurayoshi, he’s just another cute quirk that the area is proud of. While in town, if you see his cart, which travels around to different spots each day, try a yaki-imo and say hello. Mike the cat does not have a fixed schedule, so check his Twitter or Facebook page for updates.
3. Have a 12-colored lunch at Seisuian
Now, what about that mysterious 12-colored dish that’s famous here? Try a proper meal at one of the local eateries, such as at Seisuian, where the portions make a hefty bowl of ramen seem like child’s play.
On the menu is mochi-shabu, with veggies, thin layers of colorful omochi and beef — all raw. The dish is a hearty Tottori favorite that you cook at the table in flavorful broth boiling in front of you. Fun fact: The dish’s 12 different flavors of mochi like blueberry, pumpkin and carrot, are meant to symbolize the 12 layers of kimono historically worn.
Address: 1-876 Sakaemachi, Kurayoshi-shi, Tottori. Mochi shabu dishes from ¥1,080. Open from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., 5:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m..