Lately several of the major air carriers have advertised some cut rate airfares, and of course the response has been overwhelming. One winter evening my wife Miwa sat up past midnight trying to take advantage of these special deals. Each city she selected had already sold out and the campaign had only began just before she logged on. Finally, she was able to book round trip tickets to Komatsu. Having already explored Kanazawa several times we checked the map for what was south of the airport. This was the start of Golden Week with only a few days to check this area out before it became crowded. As with all our travel we create a spreadsheet and list our individual preferences for attractions, then check the distances and transportation between each one. Finally, we compare notes, make selections, and plan our trip.
Upon arrival at Komatsu airport, we boarded an express bus to Fukui Station and dropped our luggage off at the hotel. Took a train to Mikuniko and walked to the Tojinbo Cliffs.
After hiking along the coastal trails, we entered the privately owned Tojinbo Tower for a quick panoramic look of the area. It was a very nice view, but the cliffs are not visible from the observation deck. Along the path leading to the cliffs are many restaurants serving a variety of seafood. Miwa had already selected one and after a quick search we found it hidden inside a souvenir shop. With full stomachs we walked on down to the cliffs, which were declared a Japan National Monument in 1935. Named after an unpopular monk, legend has it that several other monks helped Tojinbo become inebriated, then pushed him off the cliffs and today his ghost haunts the area. There are other legends about the cliffs so do not take them for facts. Climbing on the rocks is very dangerous and a fall from a 98-foot pillar could be fatal. We stuck to the pathways and were rewarded with many beautiful spots for taking photos.
Enjoyed coffee and cinnamon chiffon cake at Iwaba Café before boarding a bus to Maruoka Castle.
Between the 14thto 15th centuries there were over 10,000 castles in Japan. Today that number including ruins are just over 100. Since the beginning of 2023 I have added 9 castles to my list now totaling 57, I hope I can see them all during my lifetime.
Maruoka Castle was built in 1576 by Shibata Katsutoyo and is one of the few original castle towers remaining in Japan. Get ready for some good exercise upon entering the castle. The stairways are very steep going up and back down, luckily there is a rope you can hold onto while climbing up to the top. I can only imagine how the original occupants managed everyday life inside this building. Next door is a small museum that presents the history of Maruoka Castle and is included in your entrance fee. There is an interesting story about a single mother name Oshizu who voluntarily sacrificed her life. See Takako Sakamoto’s article https://en.japantravel.com/fukui/haunted-castle-in-maruoka-fukui/14336
Took Bus number 32 back to Fukui Station, visited the information center, Kaya Ishimoto and the staff were very helpful in providing everything we needed for our next day adventures. Checked into our hotel, and then walked to a restaurant near the Fukui Castle ruins to experience the local Soba dish.
Fukui prefecture is home to one of the leading Dinosaur Museums in the world and as a result you will see Dinosaurs in front of the Fukui station as well as inside. They move and roar when you walk by. The museum has been closed for renovations and will reopen July 14th. The exhibit includes over 40 dinosaurs. You can also take field station tours and experience searching for bones.
With our first day completed it was really the Luck of the Draw that Miwa found Fukui while trying to book the discount flights.