Every year during Obon holidays (which is from August 11th to 16th) my family heads off to the mountain region of Tottori Prefecture to the town of Nichinan (日南町). This small forest township is the birthplace of my husband’s mother and so an important place for my family to know and to spend time in. There are a number of ways to get here but the best is to drive. If you are traveling around Japan it would pay to train to Okayama station and from here you can rent a car to see not only Okayama but its neighbors of Tottori and Shimane and Hiroshima. There are a number of major car rental companies on the west side of Okayama station.
Driving from Okayama you take route 180 which will get you to Niimi city (a nice 90 minutes drive) and from here you are just 40 minutes away from Nichinan town by taking route 8. You will carve and wind yourself through the mountains with clear rivers to the side of the road, surrounded by lush green forests, the trees towering above your head and before you know it the scenery opens up to fields of rice with every shade of green seen in nature. You will notice the old Japanese farmhouses with their red roofs, landscaped vegetable gardens and the single train track that cuts through the fields on its way to Yonago city.
What will also catch your eye with be the river that is calm and peaceful then without warning turns into a white rapid rolling off rocks and darting down into the main township of Nichinan. You will see locals standing in the river fishing, or visiting their favorite spot to get their daily quantity of natural mineral water. The old township is just a small main street that is less than 1km in distance, by following this road you get to Shoyama station. This station looks like it doesn’t fit into the immediate scenery because it's new and modern.
Once you reach Nichinan town you can pick up a map from the towns cultural center which also has a small local museum. There are lots of trekking paths to try, also a few local sightseeing places and of course there are the local delicacies that you can easily purchase to take home.