Spirits and creatures hide in corners, shadows, or just out of sight. Something moves unnaturally, landing with a bang beside you. This wasn’t simply the wind, but the work of the supernatural Yokai. Come and explore a road dedicated to an artist’s rendition of these fantastical creatures.
Mizuki Shigeru Road is located in Sakaiminato City, the hometown of Mizuki Shigeru whom the road is named after. Shigeru-san is a renowned manga (graphic novel) artist known for his depictions of Yokai (supernatural creatures, though they are not necessarily evil), including his series “Ge Ge Ge no Kitaro.” Shigeru-san had natural artistic talent from a young age, but before he could fully explore his talent he was drafted into Japan’s war-time military, the Imperial Japanese Army. During his time in the Army he experienced the death of his friends, sickness, and wounds that would cost him his dominant left arm. This molded his views of humanity and war. For example, he has explained that his Yokai can only be witnessed during times of peace, echoing his revulsion for war. While Shigeru-san’s various manga characters and Yokai have become beloved among readers, Shigeru-san has also published various historical works on Japanese history, world history, and his own war experiences. Mizuki Shigeru passed away in 2015 at the age of 93.
Mizuki Shigeru Road is like a dedication and museum to the manga artwork of Shigeru-san (although there is an actual Mizuki Shigeru Museum located on the road). The most famous thing about this 800-meter (Approx. half mile) stretch of road is the amazing 177-bronze statutes of various Yokai and characters straight out of the pages of Shigeru-san’s manga. Trying to find all of them can easily become an all-day affair. Even if you haven’t heard of the manga or Shigeru-san, the imagination and remarkable level of detail that went into making the characters and their statue counterparts can make for a fun and entertaining journey.
There are many things to do and see here beyond the statutes. Dining options are in abundance along the road including options for sushi, sashimi, crab dishes, shrimp, ramen, tofu, gyoza, sake, and even snack foods like dango and ice cream. Many places have Yokai-inspired themes and dishes that are meant to make your dining experience a little more entertaining. Other things to see include Minatosakai Exchange Center (tourist center with mural and statutes), Mizuki Shigeru Museum (especially for manga fans), Yokai Shrine, various shops, or take a stroll down to the nearby waterway.
Admission Cost may be applicable for some locations (e.g. Mizuki Shigeru Museum). Hours of operation vary by individual locations, many of the statutes on Mizuki Shigeru Road are illuminated in the evening which can be an enjoyable experience to see. Caution with weather when visiting, because the outdoor nature of this location it may not be enjoyable in foul weather.
Mizuki Shigeru Road is in Sakaiminato City, Tottori Prefecture. The closest station is Sakaiminato Station, it is located at the east end of the road along with the Minatosakai Exchange Center (tourist center) making it quite easy and convenient to visit this location by train. The station is fully accessible and has many accessible taxis available to take you to your next location.
Sidewalks along Mizuki Shigeru Road are very wide, flat, with minimal slope making it very accessible for those who use wheelchairs to explore what it has to offer. Many entrances to buildings on the road have surprisingly minimal-to-no slope. Nevertheless, some locations may have steps or no available elevators, especially for locations further away from Mizuki Shigeru Road.
Various stone blocks and benches (some you can share with Yokai) are found along the road make for perfect rest areas for those who need to sit between walking short distances.
Seeing-eye dogs are allowed on the road itself, however they may not be allowed in individual buildings. Many of the statues have braille descriptions, however, they are in Japanese braille which is different than other braille versions.
There is a wheelchair accessible toilet available near the beginning of the road near Sakaiminato Station. The angle of the toilet and urinal may make getting close to the toilet difficult. There are no ostomate facilities.
On a beautiful day in Sakaiminato City, Mizuki Shigeru Road is an excellent opportunity to explore and grab a bite to eat in the company of Yokai. This embrace of Japanese art and mythology has created a unique location that can be enjoyed by tourists local and abroad.
© Mizuki Productions
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