Mountain Climbing and HikingThe ancient beech forests, alpine meadows, and craggy peaks surrounding Daisen’s village center offer a wide range of hiking opportunities. From steep courses to the mountain’s 1,709-meter-high summit, to easy strolls through the woods or along centuries-old stone paths leading to temples and shrines, there’s something for every shade of nature-lover. At the bottom of the page we’ve listed just a few of the options.
English hiking maps are available at the Daisen Information Center
(Daisen Johou Kan, 0859-52-2502). The Center also organizes guided “Green Walks” through the verdant beech forests in summer and snow-shoeing expeditions – called “White Walks” - in winter. A volunteer guide will point out regional plants, animals tracks, and some of the area’s magnificent old trees. No experience necessary! Daisen Natural History Museum (0859-52-2327) leads guided nature walks as well.
Distance: 5km round-trip
Time: About 2hrs 30min
Difficulty level: Easy enough for anyone to hike, but a good workout.
Description: This trail begins at 1300-year-old Daisen Temple, follows ancient stone paths through the woods to O-Gamiyama Shrine, then loops back past the grounds where soldier-monks of old practiced martial arts before returning to town. Lined with stone monuments and statues, this course is ideal for those with an interest in history and religion.
Summer Mountain Climbing course
Distance: 3.4 km each way
Time: About 5 hours round-trip
Difficulty Level: The trail is steep, but easy enough for elementary-age kids to climb in summer. In winter, conditions are harsh and the trail is recommended only for experienced mountaineers.
Description: This steep trail passes through magnificent beech forests and groves of Japanese yew before reaching the Misen Summit, where hikers enjoy a 360-degree view of western Japan. To the north you’ll see the Japan Sea and nearby Oki Islands, and to the south the layered peaks of the Chugoku mountain range. An optional – and challenging – loop route on the way back takes you through the stunning Motodani valley.
GolfThere are a number of scenic golf courses and driving ranges in the Daisen foothills. Memberhip is not required. Facilities may be closed if the weather is poor; for details call the numbers listed below, or visit www.golf-in-japan.com
Kanda Golf Club (0859-54-2181)
Nihonmatsu Driving Range (0859-58-3058)
Daisen Heigen Golf Club (0859-68-4108)
Daisen Golf Club (0859-52-4101)
Daisen Nikko Country Club (0859-63-0330)
Asahi Golf Club Daisen Course (0859-56-6355)
Daisen Ark Country Club (0859-63-0374)
Green Park Daisen Country Club (0859-64-2111)
Snow SportsWith a panoramic view over the sea of Japan, six miles of groomed slopes, and an abundance of powdery snow, Daisen is Western Japan’s top ski destination. There’s something for everyone: black-diamond slopes for the daring, gentle hills for the less so, sledding spots for the kids, and snow-shoe rentals for those who prefer the back country. Ski season starts December 24 and runs through early March, or as long as the snow lasts.
Daisen White Resort (0859-52-2315) manages the slopes in the entire area, which are divided into four sections: Gouenzan, for beginners; Nakanohara and Uenohara, the most popular areas and the ones best suited to intermediate-level skiers and snowboarders, and Kokusai, the most challenging area. One ticket gets you access to all four.
CyclingThe steep, scenic slopes and cool temperatures around Daisen’s base provide a great training course for amateur and professional cyclers alike. Takumi Obara, a professional triathlete who represented Japan in the 2000 Sydney Olympics, calls the road from Nawa to Nakayama “the toughest course in Japan.” Are you up to the challenge? Bikes available for rent at Mori-no-Kuni Daisen Field Athletics.
Horse RidingAt Daisen Horse-Riding Center (0859-53-8211), you can head out to the mountain trails after a warm-up lesson in the practice ring. On rainy days, take a ride around the indoor arena. Accommodations are also available. Open 9-5, closed on Wednesdays except public holidays.
KayakingTottori Prefecture Daisen Youth House (0859-53-8030) offers free kayaking lessons in Akamatsu Lake for university students and younger kids. Make a reservation at least one month in advance.
PhotographyBring along your camera and try snapping some shots of the photogenic mountain. Prime photo spots are marked by a camera icon on the map on page 12 of the “Traveling All Over Daisen” pamphlet, available at the information center.
Athletic FacilitiesLocated near the Gouenzan Ski Area 5 minutes by car from the town center,
Daisen Sports Park (0859-52-3113) includes a 300-meter all-weather track, multipurpose grounds, and a gym with volleyball and badminton courts and weight training room. No membership required and fees are very reasonable.
Nawa Sports Land (0859-54-2035), located near Nawa train station about 15 minutes from Daisen town center, features tennis courts, sports fields, an indoor track, and a rock-climbing wall. No membership necessary. Easily accessible from the Goenzan Ski Area.
Mori-no-Kuni Daisen Field Athletics (0859-53-8036) is a multi-purpose complex including u-pick fields, a miniature golf course, camp grounds, and extensive athletic facilities for kids and adults. Reservations required for some activities, so call ahead.
FarmsCool, crisp mountain air and abundant spring water combine to make the Daisen highlands a center of fruit and dairy farming. For 500 yen, you can eat your fill of berries at Daisen Blueberry Noen (0859-53-8810). Take-home packs sell for 500 yen. Waisei Ringoen (0859-54-221) has apple trees pruned low so kids can enjoy picking too; eat all you want in the orchard for 500 yen (less for kids), or take some home for 400 yen per kilo.
Daisen Makiba Milk no Sato (0859-52-3698) is another fun destination for families. The ranch and dairy offers butter- and ice-cream-making workshops for 500 yen. You can try milking a cow too, or sample the dairy products and barbequed meat at the on-site restaurant. Open from 9-5, closed from mid-December to mid-March, and on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month (when that day falls on a public holiday, the ranch is open, and closed on the following day instead). About ten minutes by car from central Daisen.
Arts and CraftsMori-no-Kuni Daisen Field Athletics (0859-53-8036) offers workshops where kids can make keyholders using natural materials (700 yen), and cooking classes where kids make ice cream and crepes while learning about the chemistry behind the process (2,400 yen for four participants). Reservations required for the cooking class.
At Daisen Natural History Museum (0859-52-2327), you can learn to make woodcrafts - some programs for child.
Tours and special experiences
Volunteer GuidesThe Daisen Volunteer Guide Association (Daisen Guide Volunteer no Kai) has many talented members with experience guiding visitors from all over Japan and beyond. Known for exceeding visitors’ expectations! Unfortunately, the volunteers do not offer tours in English, but they are happy to use body language and welcoming smiles to show around guests who don’t speak Japanese.
Sakae Yamane and Hirofumi Inoue are among the group’s most popular tour leaders, and have been recognized as skilled guides by the Chugoku District Transport Bureau. Sakae Yamane leads “history walks” that blend folk tales with scholarly research, while Hirofumi Inoue spikes her “health walks” with humor and a broad range of knowledge about the region.