Daisen Loop Bus 大山ループバス
The Daisen Loop Bus is a seasonal bus service for access to sightseeing spots around Yonago City, in Tottori Prefecture. Most of the attractions it goes to are located in Daisen National Park, dominated by the majestic volcanic Mt. Daisen (1,709m, 5,606 ft.), a popular hiking peak.
The Daisen Loop Bus does not run all year, but only from late April to late November. Also, for most of that time, it operates on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays only. However, it runs every day through Golden Week (late April/early May), part of August (the first three weeks) and part of October/November (the last week of October and first week of November).
Most Daisen Loop Buses start from Yonago Station
The first departure of the Daisen Loop Bus is at 7:20am from Yonago Station, bus platform no.4. Note that although Yonago Station is officially listed as the second stop on the Daisen Loop Bus route, for most Daisen Loop Buses Yonago Station is actually the initial departure point.
While the ANA Crowne Plaza Yonago is listed as the first stop on the Daisen Loop Bus route, this actually happens only twice a day (8:15am and 9:30am). Likewise, the the ANA Crowne Plaza Yonago is the final stop only twice a day (arriving 4:57pm and 5:44pm). The final stop for most Daisen Loop Buses is Yonago Station.
Purchasing a Daisen Loop Bus ticket entitles you to a discount on entry to the various attractions it stops at. The amount of the discount differs by attraction.
Daisen Loop Bus Stops and Attractions
ANA Crowne Plaza Yonago
The ANA Crowne Plaza Yonago is (officially) stop no.1, but only only twice a day (8:15am and 9:30am). All other buses on the service start from Yonago Station. Likewise, the the ANA Crowne Plaza Yonago is the final stop only twice a day (arriving 4:57pm and 5:44pm). The final stop for most buses is Yonago Station.
Yonago Station is stop no.2, but for most Daisen Loop buses, it is effectively stop no.1, where the majority of the buses start their journey. The bus leaves from bus platform no.4, in front of Yonago Station. The first bus of the day departs Yonago Station at 7:20am.
Note that if your sole destination is the Tottori Prefectural Flower Park, you should take the Flower Park's own direct shuttle bus that leaves from the bus platform next along: no.5.
Kaike Onsen Tourist Center
Kaike Onsen Tourist Center is stop no.3. Kaike Onsen is a hot spring area on the seaside of Yonago, with about 20 different spas to visit. The waters come from the seafloor of Miho Bay and are notable for their saltiness, which is reputed to have extra beneficial health effects on top of the recognized relaxing and rejuvenating power of natural hot springs.
Kotobuki Castle of Sweets
Kotobuki Castle of Sweets is stop no.4, and is a spectacularly designed souvenir shop recreating the look of long-gone Yonago Castle. The first floor sells confectionery and local seafood products, and offers hands-on sweet-making experiences, and the second floor has a cafe with great views over Yonago. Open 9am-6pm daily.
Daisen Tom-Sawyer Pasture
Daisen Tom-Sawyer Pasture is stop no.5, and is a petting farm for children, featuring alpacas, sheep, goats, pony riding and even a "beetle farm." Hours: 9am-5pm, closed Thursday.
Daisen Horseriding Center
The Daisen Horseriding Center is stop no.6. Horses can be hired for riding, and horseback treks can be had in the wilderness of Mt. Daisen National Park. There is also a restaurant on the grounds, and cottage-style accommodation. Hours: Hours: 9am-5pm, closed Wednesday (but open if Wednesday falls on a national holiday).
Morinokuni Forest Kingdom
Morinokuni Forest Kingdom, stop no.7, is a great-outdoors-type nature park and playground with a giant swing set, climbing attractions, cycling tracks, a dog run, and actual tree-climbing. Guided nature tours also available, with some English-speaking staff. Has a camping ground with barbecue facilities. Open 9am-5:30pm daily.
Daisenji Temple is stop no.8. Daisenji Temple is at least 1,200 years old, and is located on the slopes of what in Shinto has traditionally been considered the sacred Mt. Daisen. Its beautiful forested grounds contain the Amida-do Hall, dating from 1592, which is a designated Important Cultural Property of Japan. The bus stops in front of the Daisen Town Tourist Association, and the temple is 10 minutes walk on from there. Right in front of the station is the Daisen Museum of Nature and History (9am-5pm, until 6:30pm in summer), which is also worth visiting.
Hotel Daisen Shirogane
The Hotel Daisen Shirogane is bus stop no.9, and is a base for winter sports and pastimes on Mt. Daisen, such as skiing, snowboarding, mountain climbing, as well as golf. Book a room at the Hotel Daisen Shirogane.
Gouenzan Lodge, bus stop no.10, is near the Gouenzan Camping Ground and the Daisen Kokusai Ski Area. Gouenzan Lodge offers buffet-style meals.
Daisenji Bridge is bus stop no.11 (actually in front of the nearby MontBell store) and, although the bridge itself is of little sightseeing value, the views from it are superb, with a sweeping panorama of a rugged mountainscape, and great night views onto the townscape below.
The Miwaheita Monument is Daisen Loop Bus stop no.12. This old stone monument is where the original main building of Daisenji Temple burned down, and was rebuilt as what is now the beautiful mountain shrine of Ohgamiyama-jinja-okunomiya, a short hike eastwards. A good starting point for hikes through the surrounding beech forest.
Masumizu Highland is bus stop. no.13 for the Daisen Loop Bus. The feature here is a chairlift going up to the Masumizu highland plain, 800 meters up, from which an expansive, unforgettable view is to be had of the Japan Sea and the Shimane Pensinsula. Also a popular place for proposing marriage! Chairlift hours: 10am-5pm weekdays, 9:30am-8:30pm weekends/public holidays. Closed Tuesdays.
Auberge Tenku is a hotel that is bus stop no.14. It serves as a place to stay for those climbing Mt. Daisen, has an outdoor natural hot spring pool, and serves good food at its Italian-style restaurant. The Auberge Tenku is one of several hotels in the area.
Daisen Home of Milk
The Daisen Home of Milk is bus stop no.15, and is basically a dairy farm that doubles as a petting farm for cows. The restaurant serves food that uses milk from the cows here, including good soft creams. Great views of Mt. Daisen while you stroke the cows or dine. Hours: 10am-5pm March-December. Closed 2nd and 4th Tuesday.
Daisen Garden Place Information Centre
The Daisen Garden Place Information Centre is the 16th stop for the Daisen Loop Bus. It is a landscaped rest, recreation and information area, with a restaurant serving dishes that use locally grown produce, a market where you can buy it (9am-5pm), a tennis court (6am-10pm) and a rentable bring-your-own barbecue house (11am-8pm).
Shoji Ueda Museum of Photography
The Shoji Ueda Museum of Photography is bus stop no.17, and is a remarkably modern structure in the middle of rice fields, with spectacular views of Mt. Daisen, beautifully framed in wonderfully designed "windows" onto it. The exhibits are photographs of the Japanese photographer, Shoji Ueda, who was from nearby Sakai-Minato City.
Daisen Royal Hotel
The Daisen Royal Hotel is the 18th stop for the Daisen Loop Bus, and offers comfortable accommodation at the foot of Mt. Daisen.
The Bierhof Gambarius, the 19th bus stop, is the pub-restaurant of the Daisen Brewery that it shares premises with. Offers several different kinds of brewed-downstairs Daisen beer, including Pilsner and stout, and great snacks and meals to go with it. Hours: 11am-10pm (last orders 9pm). Closed Mondays.
Tottori Prefectural Flower Park
Tottori Prefectural Flower Park, the 20th and final stop, is a huge, beautifully landscaped, and mostly weatherproof floral garden complex that is breathtaking in its scope, imaginativeness and seasonal beauty. Be aware, however, that if this is your sole destination, there is a free shuttle bus from Yonago Station, which is much faster and more convenient than taking a Daisen Loop Bus.
Daisen Loop Bus Fares
Fares for the Daisen Loop Bus start at 160 yen for adults (80 yen for children) and go up to 720 yen (360 yen). A one-day pass is available for 1,000 yen and a two-day pass for 1,300 yen (no discount for children). Ordinary tickets are purchased on the bus, but not one-day or two-day passes.
One-day and two-day passes can be purchased only at the following places: Nihon Kotsu Office at Yonago Bus Station Terminal, Yonago Tourism Office at JR Yonago Station, ANA Crowne Plaza Yonago, Kaike Onsen Tourist Center, Daisen Town Tourist Association, Morinokuni Forest Kingdom, Shoji Ueda Museum of Photography, Daisen Garden Place Information Centre, Bierhof Gambarius, Daisen Royal Hotel, Daisen Home of Milk (Daisen Makiba Miruku no Sato), Hotel Daisen Shirogane, Goenzan Lodge.