MITOKUSAN SANBUTSUJI TEMPLE
The thickly forested slopes of Mt. Mitoku – a 900- meter- high peak about an hour’s drive from Tottori city – are home to the Buddhist temple of Mitokusan Sanbutsuji. The secluded sanctuary is best known for Nageire- do, a seemingly gravity- defying hall that was built into a depression on a vertical cliff face. Designated as a National Treasure of Japan, its origins are cloaked in legend, though some experts have dated Nageire- do to the Heian period, with 849 being put forward as its estimated year of completion. Fit, adventure- minded travelers can see the structure up close by climbing a difficult mountain path, though it’s also visible from a much more accessible observation point. Nearby Misasa Onsen is classed as a Japanese heritage site alongside Mt. Mitoku for its radium- rich hot springs.