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Special Feature FUKUI JAPAN THE ENJOYABLE WAY

This year, Miketsukuni Wakasa and the Saba Kaido were recognized as Japan Heritage sites. The Reinan region of Fukui Prefecture borders Wakasa Bay, and is blessed with bountiful marine resources. Through the ages it supported the cuisine of the ancient capital of Kyoto as a Miketsukuni, or a region that supplied "Minie" food offerings to the Imperial Court.

DAY 1
11:00

1

Kehi Jingu(About 1 hour required)

Emperor Chuai is among six important figures enshrined at this age old shrine, which is also known as Echizen Ichinomiya and Hokurikudo Sochinju. Legend has it the great torii gate there was built from temple juniper wood that washed ashore from Sadogashima. Alongside those at Itsukushima Jinja in Hiroshima and Kasuga-Taisha in Nara, it is one of Japan's three largest wooden torii, and is designated as a cultural asset of national importance.

Open:
6:00-17:00
Access:
About 15 minutes by Community Bus from JR Tsuruga Station (get off at Kehi Jingu-Mae)
Address:
11-68 Akebono-cho, Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture
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The "chomeisui" water that flows down off a great rock at the shrine is said to keep you in good health and grant longevity. This is also a popular destination for those making their first shrine visit of the year.

15 min.

12:15

2

Tsuruga Red Brick Warehouses(About 1 hour required)

Near the quay, where the salt breeze fills the air, stand many old warehouses that lend a unique port town charm to the area. On the east side of Tsuruga Port are red brick warehouses that were built in the Meiji period, based on the designs of a foreign engineer. At the time they were used as oil storehouses, and up until a few years ago they housed harvested kelp.
Following renovations, they reopened on October 14, 2015. The north building now serves as a Diorama Hall for the railway and port, and the south building has a new lease of life as a Restaurant Hall where you can enjoy the historic red brick surroundings.

Open:
[Diorama Hall] 9:30-17:30 (last entrance at 17:00)
[Restaurant Hall] 9:30-22:00 (hours vary by establishment)
Closed:
Wednesdays, New Year's holiday
Access:
10 minutes by car from Tsuruga Interchange on the Hokuriku Expressway
Address:
4-1 Kanegasaki-cho, Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture
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Close by are other facilities such as a railway museum and the Port of Humanity Tsuruga Museum where you can learn more about Tsuruga's history.

30 min.

13:45

3

Marusanya local seafood cuisine(About 1 hour required)

The "Local Specialty Set" features oroshi soba or mori soba noodles using Echizen's famous spicy daikon, as well as your choice of any six pieces of sushi, such as pressed mackerel, grilled mackerel, conger eel, and sea bream.
There are also a myriad of other fresh seafood dishes you'd expect to find at a fish wholesaler like this, including seafood rice bowl and sashimi meals.

Open:
11:00-23:00
Access:
5 minute walk from JR Tsuruga Station
Address:
6-41 Shirogane-cho, Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture
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Food is one of the most enjoyable things about travel. Here you can sample a range of Fukui delicacies. On the ground floor a range of marine products and processed goods perfect for souvenirs are also sold!

30 min

15:15

4

Mikata Five Lakes(About 2 hours required)

Mikata Lake, Suigetsu Lake, Suga Lake, Kugushi Lake, and Hiruga Lake lie scattered throughout the gorges of the low-lying hills in this region, producing subtle shades that are truly wondrous to look upon. The differences between their hues are apparent from the 11.2 km Rainbow Line (toll road), which provides views of the dynamic landscape of the Five Lakes and the Sea of Japan. In November 2005 the lakes were designated a registered wetlands under the Ramsar Convention.

Access:
20 minutes by car from Tsuruga Interchange on the Hokuriku Expressway
Address:
Mihama, Mikata / Wakasa, Mikata-kaminaka, Fukui Prefecture
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Sancho Park is popular with couples, and features a rose garden. Paid jet boat tours of the Five Lakes can also be booked at the Mikatagoko Lake Center.

30 min.

17:45

5

Shimojo, Wakasa Fugu Inn(Overnight stay)

This traditional inn's selling point is cuisine featuring Wakasa fugu raised by the proprietor in the sea nearby. Here you can enjoy fugu dishes with volume and quality you could only find here in the heart of fugu country. The centerpiece of the Wakasa fugu full course is the grilled fugu, with each thick slice seared over charcoal. In the colder months the pieces even dance before you on the plate. On top of that, you can look forward to a bounty of treats such as Tessa, Tecchiri, deep-fried cuts, and fresh local fish made into boat-wrap sushi. Of course, parboiled skin and zosui are also on offer. In winter, Wakasa oysters steamed in an earthenware pot are included as well.

Access:
20 minutes by car from Obama Interchange on the Maizuru-Wakasa Expressway
Address:
10-15 Ano, Obama, Fukui Prefecture
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The large variance in water temperature between summer and winter firms the flesh of the Wakasa fugu that grow in the clear waters of the Sea of Japan. Fukui prides itself on this winter delicacy.

10 min.

DAY 2
09:00

6

Hashi no Furusato Kan(About 1 hour required)

Wakasa lacquered chopsticks account for 80% of all those produced in Japan. The manufacturing process takes several months, and involves the use of a special lacquering technique in which high-grade lacquer is applied in a dozen or more layers. The chopsticks are then decorated using various shells and gold leaf, and finished using stone or charcoal. At Hashi no Furusato Kan around 3,000 sets of Wakasa lacquered chopstick are on display, giving visitors a good sense of the traditional skills involved. Another popular activity is the workshop where you can try out the finishing process, and make your very own set of chopsticks.

Open:
[Weekdays] 9:00-17:00, [Sundays and holidays] 9:00-16:00
Closed:
New Year's holiday
Access:
10 minutes by car from Obama Interchange on the Maizuru-Wakasa Expressway
Address:
8-1-3 Fukutani, Obama, Fukui Prefecture

30 min.

10:30

7

Kumagawa-juku(About 1 hour required)

Long ago this was an important post town between Wakasa and Kyoto, and the ruins of the magistrate's office, guard house, and store house can still be seen today. The streets are lined with old irrigation channels, and have a historic atmosphere. Historical documents and personal diaries from between the Toyotomi period and the end of the feudal era are also preserved here. Kumagawa-juku is designated an Important Preservation District for Groups of Traditional Buildings, and the townscape retains echoes of its former prosperity.

Access:
20 minutes by car from Obama Interchange on the Maizuru-Wakasa Expressway
Address:
Kumagawa, Wakasa, Mikata-kaminaka, Fukui Prefecture
JAL STAFF COMMENT

Kumagawa-juku was part of the Saba Kaido, or "mackerel road" over which mackerel caught in the Miketsukuni Wakasa region was carried to Kyoto. Miketsukuni Wakasa and the Saba Kaido have now been recognized as Japan Heritage sites.

5 min.

11:30

8

Marushin, home of kuzu and mackerel sushi(About 1 hour required)

The kuzu here is cooked from scratch using arrowroot starch after taking the customers' orders. As a result, the kuzu has a consistency you only get when it is freshly made. Experience the firmness and translucence of the kuzu-mochi, kuzu-zenzai, and kuzu-kiri for yourself. The homemade mackerel sushi specially prepared from raw mackerel by the proprietor is also extremely popular.

Open:
09:00-17:00
Access:
20 minutes by car from Obama Interchange on the Maizuru-Wakasa Expressway
Address:
39-11-1 Kumagawa, Wakasa, Mikata-kaminaka, Fukui Prefecture
JAL STAFF COMMENT

This restaurant in central Kumagawa-juku was converted from an old traditional Japanese house, lending it an air of antiquity. Specialties such as local candy and mackerel sushi are also sold.

JAL STAFF COMMENT

Provided by Hiroki Saito
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