From Fukui Station we boarded Bus 55 at 07:55, bus stop 5 for an early morning trip to Echizen Ono Castle. I think for this day the number 5 was my lucky number.
During the winter you can climb up Mount Inuyama for a breathtaking view of the castle above the clouds. For us it was a nice clear May morning and our view was from street level, which was still pretty nice. The castle was built in 1575 by Nagachika Kanamori, with the current tower rebuilt in 1968 using old pictures and drawings. You can walk the road up to the castle or take the steps for some good exercise. Inside the castle is a modern stairway for an easy trip up to the tower and great views of the area. Just down from the castle is the Samurai House of the Tamura Family.
Walked to Echizen Ono Station and passed through the famous Tera Machi Avenue (temple street), where you can visit 16 temples, plus with a few more steps the total comes to over 30 temples and shrines. This area is known as little Kyoto. An excellent way to spend a spring morning.
Next stop Fukui station for an early lunch at a conveyer belt sushi restaurant and then onto Sabae to view the Azaleas at Nishiyama Park. This park boasts over 50,000 Azaleas. In early spring the park is home to 1000 cherry trees, in June a spectacular display of hydrangeas, and for the fall beautiful Japanese maples. There is also a Japanese garden and a small zoo featuring Red Pandas. The park was established in 1856 and is well worth the trip from Fukui Station. We tried the Azalea soft cream at the park rest area. It is definitely on my list to visit again when we come back to this area.
With a few more hours left before heading to the airport we stopped at Fukui Castle Ruins. The castle was built in 1606 using stones from the original Kitanosho Castle, but destroyed by fire in 1669 and never rebuilt. All that remains is the moat, a wooden bridge, and castle walls, as well as the famous good luck well. It is a nice area for a stroll and I found it interesting the current Fukui Prefectural Offices were built inside the surrounding moat.
Continued our walk to Yokokan Garden, the second home to the Matsudairas family. Destroyed during WWII and later rebuilt as a Japan National Treasure, the most photographic section of the garden is across the pond viewing the Tea Ceremony House reflection. During our nice quiet walk around the pond there were many birds singing songs adding to our enjoyment.
Walked back to Fukui Station in time to catch the 18:33 train to Komatsu Station and the bus to Komatsu Airport. This was another area of Japan we will be coming back too for further exploration, especially after the Dinosaur Museum reopens.
I included in this article our spreadsheet. We prepare one even for day trips, allowing our schedule to be flexible incase we come upon an unexpected place of interest to both of us. I also included our actual expenses in yen and dollars. Budgeting our trips allows us to travel more frequently when those special deals suddenly appear.