The Spectacular Cliffs of Tojinbo
Seaside is always the best relaxing place after a long week hard-work. Tojinbo is a beautiful place with spectacular cliffs along the coast, and it is designated as a natural monument because of its 25-meter-tall, 1-kilometer-long cliffs. Tojinbo is located in Fukui Prefecture, and belongs to the Echizen-Kaga Kaigan Quasi-National Park. It’s one of the most popular spots in Fukui prefecture for Japanese as well as foreigners.
The rocks in Tojinbo are named from their shapes such as Sandan Rocks (three-layer rocks), Rosoku Rocks (candle rocks), Byobu Rocks (wind wall rocks), and Oike (big lake). It is fun to climb the rocks and watch the blue sea. There is a cruise service available, which takes about 30mins to commute between Tojinbo and Oshima. Oshima is one of the biggest islands in the Echizen coast, which is about 10.2 hectares. There are also some recommended spots near Tojinbo such as Echizen Matsushima Aquarium, Araiso hiking trail (4km), Mikuni sunset beach, and Mikuni seaside natural park.
By walking along the Araiso hiking trail, you can enjoy the beautiful nature and the stunning view of the sea. The Araiso hiking trail leads you to Oshima, which is called the island of God. A Shunuri Bridge (a bridge painted in red) lays over the sea to connect with Oshima island. The original main shrine of Ominato is located in Oshima.
If you would like to enjoy the beach with friends or family, there are two recommended places near Tojinbo: Mikuni Sunset Beach and Hamaji Beach. Mikuni Sunset Beach can be easily reached by walk from Mikuniminato station. Many people visit Mikuni Sunset Beach in summer for marine sports such as surfing. Hamaji Beach is a quiet and beautiful beach located near to the Echizen Matsushima Aquarium. Camping facilities are also available near the Hamaji Beach, where you can enjoy BBQ or outdoor activities. If you have children, Shibamasa World is a good choice for them. There are several kinds of pool facilities, attractions, camping places, and also a golf club. Mikuni is also famous for its onsen (hot spring). You can stay in Japanese style Ryokan and enjoy hot springs.
If you walk into the street next to the Tojinbo Tower, you can find many omiyage(souvenir) shops and restaurants. There is a special ice cream - Squid Ink Ice-cream that you can only find in the Tojinbo area. You can also taste baked or fresh raw seafood in the restaurants. Crab is of course the best choice in this area. Some shops also sell crabs and shrimps at reasonable price.
Echizen crab in Fukui is one of the best crabs in Japan. The best season to eat Echizen crabs is in winter. Although the price is quite expensive comparing with normal crabs, it’s worth to taste the fresh Echizen crabs in Fukui. There are many restaurants near Tojinbo and you can also buy fresh crabs in the fish market. We tried Echizen crab at Echizengani-no-bo, a restaurant near the Mikuniminato station. We ordered Seiko-don and Zuwai-don, which are served with Tsukemono and miso soup. In Fukui, they call female crab as “Seiko” and male crab as “Zuwai”.
Several Japanese festivals (Matsuri) are also held in Tojinbo area each year. On 20th April, there is Oshima festival which was started since 1350. The purpose of this festival is to pray for safe fishing in the sea. Mikuni festival is held 3 days from 19th until 21st May. During the festival, you will see a parade with huge warrior dolls on the streets of Mikuni. As other cities in Japan, Mikuni also has fireworks on the Mikuni Sunset Beach. You can wear a Yukata and enjoy fireworks on the beach. There are also Sakura festival, Lavender festival, Sunflower festival, and Pond Lily festival. Don’t forget to check the festivals before you visit Tojinbo!
From Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka: Take JR trains to Awaraonsen station, and then take Keifuku bus (40mins).
From Fukui: Take Echizen train to Mikuniminato station, and then take Keifuku bus (10 mins).