15 Things to Do in Fukui
1. Fukui Dinosaur Museum
Fukui Dinosaur Museum is the biggest dinosaur museum in Japan which opened in 2000 and it consists of a permanent exhibition and a rotating exhibition. There are 44 entire structures of dinosaurs and 10 of them are real ones. Huge dinosaur dioramas and a large screen called "Dino Theater" will make you feel as if you transported back to the Jurassic Period. You can experience a fossil dig outside the museum.
2. Tojinbo Cliffs
Uniquely shaped rocks created by water erosion can be seen along the coast line in Mikuni. They are geologically very rare and it is said that it can be found only in three places in the world. You can also see the spectacular view from the 55m height Tojinbo Tower, take a boat to have a closer look at those distinctive rocks and enjoy the amazing view of the ocean.
3. Maruoka Castle
Maruoka Castle has the oldest castle tower, and as its other name “Kasumi ga jo” (which means a castle with haze) suggests, it looks breathtakingly beautiful and dreamy when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom. This castle was built by Katsutoyo, the nephew of the general Katsuie Shibata. In the park around the castle there are 400 Somei Yoshino blossoms and the park was chosen as one of “100 Best Cherry Blossom Viewing Spots in Japan”.
4. Suisho Hama
Suisho Hama, which means “crystal beach”, is famous for waters as clear as crystal, and its fine, white sands. The contrast between white color of the sand and blue color of the water is beautiful. It is a very popular beach for surfing.
5. Awara Onsen
In 1883, when a farmer in this area dug a well for irrigation in a rice field, hot water about 80℃ gushed out. That was the beginning of the onsen business in Awara City. In the following year, several hot spring inns opened and after the opening of the Mikuni Line in 1912, it stared to develop as a town of hot springs.
6. Eihei-ji Temple
Eihei-ji Temple was founded deep in the mountain by Zen Master Dogen in 1244, and even today, many monks are devoted to the zen training at the temple. Eihei-ji is known for its tough training and you can also experience it there by joining programs the temple offers.
7. Ichijōdani Asakura Family Historic Ruins
Ichijōdani Asakura Family Historic Ruins are the historic sites located in Ichijodani in Fukui. This area was ruled by the Asakura clan for 103 years and most parts of the excavated sites such as compounds and roads are unchanged since the old days.
8. Ono Castle
The Ono Castle located in Ono City was built by the general Nagachika Kanamori around 1576 and it took four years to complete the construction. The base of the castle was made by piling up natural stones and this method is called “Noduradumi”. The castle was rebuilt in 1968 and now operates as a museum.
9. Sabae Megane Museum (Sabae eyeglasses museum)
Sabae City produces more than 80% of eyeglass frames in Japan and 20% of them in the world. In Sabae City, making eyewear frames became a popular industry in 1905 because farmers in Sabae needed a job to get a stable income during snowy winter. In this museum, you can buy many types of glasses and learn the history, and even make your own pair.
10. Mikata Go Ko (Mikata 5 Lakes)
Mikata Go-ko consists of five lakes: Mikata-ko, Suigetsu-ko, Suga-ko, Kugushi-ko and Hiruga-ko. The water color of each lake is slightly different and as such, it is called “The lakes of five colors”. In 2005, Mikata Go-ko was designated as a Ramsar site. From the Rainbow Line Summit Park, you can enjoy the spectacular view of the five lakes.
11. Sauce Katsudon Meal
When we say “Katsudon” in Japan, it means a bowl of rice with egg, deep-fried pork and onion, but in Fukui, Katsudon is a bowl of rice with pork and sauce on it. You can easily find restaurants that serve this type of Katsudon in Fukui, but the most famous one is called “Yo-roppa ken”. They are very reasonable and delicious, and probably you can enjoy it only in Fukui, so don’t forget to try it when you come here!
12. Echizen Soba
Echizen soba is a type of soba people eat in Fukui. While some soba are sometimes served warm, Echizen soba is always served cold. The ingredients are very simple: radish, dried bonito and green onion. There are numerous soba restaurants which serve this soba, and sometimes you can find a set menu with the Katsu don in Fukui.
13. Echizen gani (crab)
Fukui prefecture used to be called “Echizen” and Echizen gani means a male snow crab caught in Fukui and is known as one of the top brands of crabs in Japan. The secret of its quality is the fishing grounds in Fukui. It is located where warm and cold water currents meet, so crabs there grow big, eating plankton, little fish, and sweet shrimps.
14. Yaki Saba Zushi (Grilled Mackerel Sushi)
Saba zushi in Fukui is a sushi with grilled mackerel on top, and underneath the mackerel, we add various ingredients such as ginger, mushroom and so on. You can find saba zushi with pickled mackerel in other places, but in Fukui, we put grilled mackerel on it. Shopping centers and shops at train stations in Fukui offer this sushi, so I recommend you to buy one as a souvenir.
15. Habutae Mochi
Habutae Mochi is a soft sweet made from rice, sugar, and starch syrup and the word “Habutae” actually means silk fabric produced in Fukui. In the past, ordinary people didn’t have many chances to see the fabric even though it was a specialty here, because it was mainly exported to major cities in Japan or foreign countries. So sweet shops in Fukui began to produce sweets that were reminiscent of the fabric so that people could bring them as a souvenir.