Fukui is a mountainous prefecture which is in the Chubu region (literally translated as central part), just north of Kyoto prefecture. There are a number of tourist attractions, surrounded by beautiful nature and the prefecture has been visited by an increasing number of international tourists. Though the prefecture has not yet been as discovered as other regions nearby. The capital, Fukui city, is a small castle town with historical and cultural sites, that is flanked by mountains. In summer, Fukui prefecture offers amazing subtropical beaches that will make you feel like you’re in the Philippines or Hawaii. On the other hand, in winter time, the large amounts of snow make the prefecture a great place for winter sports!
The prefecture, together with Kyoto, has long been a center for traditional paper making in Japan. Fukui is also renowned for its clean water and crops that result in delicious sake, rice, and soba noodles. If you are into history, Fukui prefecture is the best place to go: you can visit some well preserved old building from the Sengoku period, the oldest castle in Japan, and the impressive dinosaur museum. But arguably the most impressive destinations in Fukui are Eiheiji temple, one of the two main temples of Zen Buddhism, and the breathtaking Tojinbo cliffs. In this article, we will introduce must visit spots in Fukui!
Eihei-ji Temple is a Zen Buddhism temple which was built in 1244. It is one of the main temples of the Soto school of Buddhism along with the Soji-ji Temple in Yokohama. The temple was originally built as a Buddhism Training Center where monks live and do austere training. There are about 70 historical structures comprising the large temple complex, and the peaceful surroundings (deep in a forest) offer the ideal environment for them to focus on their training. Even today, around 200 monks devote themselves to follow the strict rules and endure the training. They also offer some interesting experiences for visitors such as Zen meditation and transcribing the Sutra.
8.30am – 5pm
Admission ¥500 (adults)
Fukui Dinosaur Museum
Fukui Dinosaur Museum is a museum located in Katsuyama, opened in 2000. Although it is relatively new and doesn’t have a long history, it is listed among the three biggest dinosaur museums in the world! They mainly feature exhibits of dinosaur fossils and other ancient creatures, and significantly contribute to a development of dinosaur research in Japan as a leading museum in the field. Over 40 full-scale skeletons of dinosaur welcome visitors with its overwhelming appearance! Exhibits can be observed closely, thereby offering a fun and educational opportunity for visitors to learn about dinosaurs and paleontological facts. It is not only enjoyable for children but for adults as well!
Fukui Dinosaur Museum
9am – 5pm
Admission ￥730 (adults)
Tojinbo is a steep cliff along the Sea of Japan situated in Sakai city. It is a unique rock formation created by rough wave’s erosion for ages. It is 1 km long and about 30m high on average, and widely known as a perfect picture spot. It seems thrilling and dangerous at first, but there are trails that enable visitors to walk around easily and safely. Once you stand at the edge of the rocks, you can feel a comfortable sea breeze blowing from the wild ocean!
When you stand on the cliffs and look towards the right, you can spot a red bridge and the small (2km circumference) Ojima island. We recommend to visit this island too when you have the opportunity. The whole area is designated as Echizen-Kaga Kaigan Quasi-National Park. Like Tojinbo cliff, the rock formation is rather impressive! You can hike all around the island and along the trail you can see some unique plants. The island also has some unique features such as the Magnet Rock and the Oominato shrine. There is also a legend that the ice cold water, due to the lack of salt in the water, can split a water melon earning it its’ name Melon Splitting Water.
Mid-winter, Fukui prefecture received a lot of snow, but there is no sign of that during in summer time. If you visit Suisho-hama Beach, you easily be mistaken and think you somewhere in the Caribbean! Suisho-hama Beach is located in Mihama-machi and officially selected as the 88 best beaches in Japan. The white sandy beach creates an amazing contrast with the crystal water, and it is getting more attention as a suitable and safe swimming spot during summer season. Fukui is also known as a popular diving spot. In summer, many people flock to the beach to escape enjoy the beautiful, crystal clear blue water. It is also known as sunset beach because of breathtaking view in the twilight, making it a perfect dating spot!
Uriwari-no Taki (Uriwari Fall)
Uriwari-no Taki refers to a water fall located in Wakasa Uriwari Meisui park. The unique name means the water is so cold that it can crack a melon in two parts (just like the water at Ojima islands!). The clear water stemming out from the rocks is drinkable, and the quality is officially recognized by the ministry of Environment. Located in a deep forest, it also helps visitors get rid of exhaustion and helps them feel relaxed in a peaceful atmosphere. The waterfall itself is not so big, but it creates a pleasant scenery in harmony with plants growing around.
Have you ever heard of the Hawaii of Hokuriku? Mizushima Island is an uninhabited island located in the Tsuruga bay in Tsuruga city. To acces Mizushima you will need to take a ferry that operates only in the summer. The island is actually made out of two small islands which are connected by sandbank. From the sandy beach, the water is shallow for quite a distance, and visitors can go far into the ocean to swim and observe the marine creatures through the transparent water! The clear water is also great for scuba diving and snorkelling!
Ski Jam Katsuyama
In the winter months, Fukui prefecture receives a vast amount of snow and especially in the north, the winter sports options are great! Ski Jam Katsuyama is one of the largest snow resorts in western Japan, which boasts a 5,800m long trail and a total of 12 slopes. The ski slopes are best suited for intermediate skiers and snowboarders but there is also a lot of terrain for beginners and experts too.
Ski Jam Katsuyama (Japanese only)
Tsuruga Red Brick Warehouse
Tsuruga Red Brick Warehouse are two warehouses designed and built by a foreign petrol company in 1905. From the Meiji period through to the early Showa period, Tsuruga, prospered as a port city which connected Japan to Europe and the warehouses serve as a symbol of that past. They were originally used as a petroleum storage tanks, and in 2015 transformed into a sightseeing facility. The north wing is currently used to exhibit a diorama that recreates the Tsuruga of the early 1900s, a center of international trade. The south building comprises of several shops such as cafes and restaurants serving local dishes. It is interesting to compare this red brick warehouse to the one in Yokohama!
Tsuruga Red Brick Warehouse
9.30 am – 10pm (south building) / free admission
9.30 am – 5.30pm (north building) / ¥400 (adult)
Mikata Goko is a cluster of five small lakes (goko means 5 lakes) located near the Wakasa bay in south Fukui. They may look all very similar at first, but the differences in the quality of water and the levels of salt are different in each lake. For this reason, the types of creatures living in each lake differ as well as the colours of the lakes are slightly different.
In autumn, the mountains that surround the lakes become very colourful and create a great scenery! There is a popular park called Rainbow Line Mountain Peak Park on the top of Mount Baijo, from where you have stunning panoramic views of all the lakes while enjoying your drink at the cafe.
Heisenji Hakusan Shrine
Heisenji Hakusan Shrine is a small shinto shrine located in Katsuyama city. It was once a powerful shrine that belonged to the Tendai Sect until the Meiji era in the 19th century. The shrine is located entrance to the Echizen pilgrimage route to the sacred Mount Hakusan. Together with Saihoji Temple in Kyoto, Heisenji Hakusan Shrine is known as one of Japan’s most famous kokedera (moss temple). The shrine’s approach is almost completely covered with a velvet carpet of moss and walking through the tall, old pine trees, you can almost feel the long history hidden in the sacred place.
Heisenji Hakusan (※Japanese Only)
Where to stay in Fukui
- Farm Inn Auberge Fujiifsui Fermier – traditional ryokan, located within walking distance from the beach.
- Tsuruga Manten Hotel Ekimae – Western style hotel with comfortable rooms, near the JR Tsuruga station
- Katsuyama New Hotel – small, welcoming hotel and good service including free shuttle Ski Jam, Dinosaur Museum & train station
Don’t forget to check out our private tour!
If you need some help to organize your trip to Fukui, you should definitely check out our private tour including English guide. We’re glad to help you make your trip to Fukui a safe, comfortable, and unforgettable memory!
1. Kanazawa 1–Day Highlight Private Walking Tour (8 Hours)
2. Tokyo 1–Day Highlights Private Walking Tour (8 Hours)
With the Sea of Japan to the north and being surrounded by mountains on all other sides, warm summers and an abundance of snow in the winter, Fukui prefecture offers all kinds of outdoor activities in combination with city sightseeing. The prefecture is also great for a road trip, with many different amazing locations spread out over the area. Would you like to go to Fukui?
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