Events / Events Outside Tokyo

Sakaiminato — the city of fish and festivities

by Akira Okubo

Staff Writer

Sakaiminato in Tottori Prefecture is a city that is ideal for tourists. It’s one of the biggest fishing towns in Japan, and as the hometown of Mizuki Shigeru, author of the yōkai (Japanese folklore monsters and ghouls) manga series “GeGeGe no Kitaro,” it’s known as the birthplace of some of the country’s most popular cartoon monsters.

Visitors can enjoy a stroll along Mizuki Shigeru Road, which has 153 statues of the yōkai featured in “GeGeGe no Kitaro,” and visit the seaport, which is famous for its tuna and crabs as well as for having some of the largest annual catches of seafood in Japan.

To pray for a good haul each year, the Sakaiminato Port Festival is held every July. Mikoshi (portable shrines) are paraded through the streets and a fleet of fishing boats carry the shrines across the sea. Another highlight is a fireworks display, which takes place over the water so that colorful reflections can be viewed.

The city also recently added jazz music to its list of attractions, with its Sakaiminato Yokai Jazz Festival, which invites visitors to enjoy music performed by a number of big names on the Japanese jazz scene.

The Sakaiminato Port Festival takes place on July 27 and is free to watch. The Sakaiminato Yokai Jazz Festival on July 26 will be held in front of Sakaiminato station from 4 p.m.; admission is ¥7,000. For more information, call 0859-47-0121 or visit www.sakaiminato.net.