This amazing sand sculpture museum is tiny Tottori Prefecture’s hidden tourist gem

Remember when Tottori Prefecture finally got a Starbucks after all these years of being one of the few places in the world without one? Oh man, that was crazy.

Tottori is just one of those places. The kind of area that’s so quiet and uneventful that not even Starbucks, the corporate giant that’s more than happy to smother historic cultural heritage sites with their over-roasted beans and pricey lattes for a quick buck, spent decades more or less pretending it didn’t even exist. The Prefecture’s population of just over half a million is shockingly small by densely-populated Japan’s standards, and it’s just generally ignored by the rest of Japan as a place that, well… doesn’t have much to see, to put it kindly.

But wait a second! What’s this?! Tottori has been sitting on an amazing tourist draw in the form of a sand sculpture museum that features mind-boggling, award-winning and massive sand sculptures and they basically haven’t even really told anybody about it.

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Starbucks conquers Japan with first location in Tottori, now has a branch in every prefecture

Tottori: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the Starbucks (coffee) enterprise. Their continuing mission: to serve strange new Frappuccinos, to open new stores and new locations, to boldly go where no Starbucks has gone before.

For anyone playing Starbucks Japan bingo, you can now cross off Tottori from your sheet. May 23 officially marks the first day that there is a Starbucks Coffee shop in every single prefecture in Japan. Tons of people showed up for the grand opening of the Tottori Starbucks, but was this a great triumph or another situation of the little guy being pushed aside by a huge mega-corp?

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Starbucks comes to Tottori, local coffee chain’s poster compares it to Perry arriving in Japan

With Starbucks having won the loyalty of so many customers in so many countries, sometimes it seems like the Seattle-based coffee giant has a location in every corner of the world. There’s still at least one place that’s Starbucks-free, though, and that’s Tottori, the last prefecture in Japan without a branch of its own.

The situation is about to change, though, as Starbucks is set to open its first Tottori location this week. Local coffeehouse chain Sunaba Coffee, whose name is almost an exact copy of Starbucks’ Japanese nickname, is bracing for the impact of its new competitor by guaranteeing its product tastes just as good as Starbucks’, while making the humble request that customers get one out of every three coffee fixes at Sunaba.

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Tottori City’s starving mascot makes waves and suddenly disappears

From December of last year until this February, Tottori City held an open call for mascot ideas for a character to represent the Tottori Castle ruins. The ruins were named one of Japan’s 100 notable castles and have enjoyed an influx of tourists.

The mascot idea which came in second place was Katsue-san, the starving farm girl. When the announcement of Kazue hit, the internet lit up with excitement. However, she mysteriously disappeared from the Tottori City website soon after.

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Tottori Prefecture kicking ass and taking names… with a petition to see a six-month-old movie

As we mentioned before, Japan can be painfully slow when it comes to releasing overseas movies. Disney’s Frozen doesn’t release here until this Friday, and Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg’s The World’s End, released in most countries some nine months ago, won’t arrive until next month.

Another late release is Kiss Ass 2 (Kick Ass: Justice Forever in Japan), which although shown in the West last summer, only made its way to Japanese theatres two weeks ago. And if you happen to live in a more rural part of Japan, forget about it. For example, Tottori Prefecture often has to deal with so-called nationwide releases never showing up in their part of the nation.

Tired of being treated as second-class movie-goers, a movement was started to ask for the showing of the latest Kick Ass movie in their land. And for such a job they called in Tottori’s greatest hero: Negiman (Green Onion Man).

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Tully’s Coffee checks off every last prefecture, set to open store in oft-forgotten Tottori Prefecture

American coffee chain, Tully’s Coffee, is set to open a new coffee shop in Tottori Prefecture which will see it secure a firm foothold in every last prefecture in Japan. The absence of a Starbucks in Tottori Prefecture means that Tully’s Coffee will effectively steal the lead over the big S, who has set to set up a store in Japan’s least populous prefecture.

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