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Where to go in Echizen, Fukui City
- A thousand years and a handful of centuries ago, a province called Echizen was created in northern Fukui from the scraps of other districts. The ancient province, also known as Esshu, was famous for paper—washi—and poets—Otomo no Yakamochi, among others—and pottery—its kilns turned out some of the finest ceramics in the land, and it helped link the country to the powerful kingdoms of China. The city of Echizen and its neighbor, Sabae, a few miles up the road, sit on the same territory as the former province, and have inherited its historical legacy, while also forging their own modern identity. On a visit to Echizen and Sabae, these are the spots to hit. Gotanjoji, the Cat Temple A Zen temple of the Soto school, Gotanjoji in the barren, hilly Shodencho district of Echizen has become famous for its cats. The temple’s history is lengthy, but it has occupied this piece of land for only about two decades; shortly after its construction, south of the Hachiman Shrine, stray cats that had stalked the nearby hills began showing up at the temple. The temple heads did their best to care for the cats, but eventually, the felines became something an attraction, and the tour buses that arrive in the temple’s parking lot these days are full of pilgrims coming specifically for the swarming clowder of cats that greet them. Echizen Lacquerware Traditional Industry Hall This expansive facility in Sabae, known also by the more poetic name Urushi no Sato Kaikan (literally, “Village of Urushi Hall,” named for the urushi tree, the sap of which is the source of the caustic chemicals necessary to make lacquer), houses the Echizen Lacquerware Cooperative's ateliers, a gallery showcasing the craft, and a space for lacquerware workshops. Lacquerware, essentially carved wood coated with a shiny, hard finish, is a famous local product, with a history stretching back a millennia. Before you pick up a lacquer bowl, take the local products for a test drive in the attached cafe, Wanwan, where everything is served in lacquerware made in-house. Okamoto-Otaki Shrine The story of the Okamoto-Otaki Shrine begins like this: a heavenly princess appeared to villagers that lived on the shores of the Okamoto River; the princess, with a few waves of her hands, demonstrated the craft of making washi. The villagers followed her lead; they mashed the pulp of local shrubs, washed the pulp in the clear, cold water of the Okamoto, and spread it on screens to make delicate yet durable sheets of paper. The princess, Kawakami Gozen, is enshrined at this ancient Shinto tabernacle. It was washi that made the villages and towns of the region rich, in an age before plastic, when the paper was used to make everything from fans to food wrappers. Set in a thicket of trees, the ancient shrine has been visited by the town’s washi makers and dealers for centuries. The shrine complex sits in a beautiful corner of Washinosato Park, not far from the city’s Paper and Culture Museum. Murasaki Shikibu Koen Murasaki Shikibu, the author of the world's first novel, The Tale of Genji, was a homebody. She left her hometown only once, to accompany her father to Echizen. It was a poem, written to Emperor Ichijo, that earned her father his position as governor of the province, and a novel that earned his daughter eternal fame. The park, a neat rectangle of land, is a landscape of traditional gardens and architecture, honoring the work of the great novelist. ©NAVITIME JAPAN. Travel Info Check out our travel tips to make your trip better!
Five must-see spots in Tsuruga City
- Tsuruga sits on a pretty piece of real estate, with Wakasa Bay frontage on the north end and, out back, lush highlands that stretch almost to Lake Biwa. Tsuruga City and environs were once the setting for the pitched battles of the Sengoku Period; the city soaked up the wealth generated by new shipping routes to the north, and was opened up to international trade in the Meiji. This is a city with pride in its history and no shortage of natural wonders. Tsuruga Red Brick Warehouse Tsuruga’s history as a port is a fascinating story, told, in part, at the Red Brick Warehouse. For centuries Tsuruga was a link out to Korea and China, and in 1899, it was opened to trade with the United States. When the railway linked Tokyo, the capital of a suddenly powerful empire, out to Fukui, Tsuruga was a key link between Japan and the rest of the world (surprisingly, shipping out to the Port of Vladivostok was a major concern there). This warehouse complex is an example of embryonic globalization, built to house kerosene for the Chinese branch—called Mei Foo—of the John D. Rockefeller-founded Standard Oil Co. Inc. (predecessor to ExxonMobil), built of Dutch bricks by Portuguese, Flemish and Japanese workers. The unique history of the warehouse, and the fact that it survived over a century until its renovation in 2015, makes it a must-visit in Tsuruga. Suishohama Beach Suishohama Beach is a white sand beach out on the cape that extends north of Tsuruga into Wakasa Bay. Suishohama has become the go-to spot for windsurfing and water sports, but it’s also a decent visit, if you’re only interested in going for a wade and soaking up the sun. When that sun sets, locals know that the beach is a great spot to catch romantic sunsets. Dusk comes early in the summer, and the sand is still warm with the summer heat as the sun turns the Wakasa Bay a stunning crimson. Kehi Shrine Poet Matsuo Basho visited the shrine himself, and remembers it like this, in The Narrow Road to the Deep North: “...I paid a night visit to Kehi Shrine. It is the mausoleum of Emperor Chuai. The shrine looked divinely ancient, and with the moon shining in through the pine trees, the white sand before the deity was like frost spread out.” The Kehi Shrine's history stretches back centuries, destroyed and rebuilt many times over two millennia, most recently in the air raids on Tsuruga in the Second World War. Follow in Basho’s footsteps and visit this historic shrine in the Akebonocho. Port of Humanity Tsuruga Museum This museum tells the story of Chiune Sugihara, a vice consul for the Japanese Empire in Lithuania, who assisted thousands of European Jews in fleeing from the Final Solution and Soviet pogroms in Poland around 1940. Sugihara wrote exit visas for Jews and others seeking escape from the madness of Europe in the Second World War. The refugees fled east, boarding trains to Vladivostok and then hopping ships that would take them to ports like Tsuruga. Sugihara and the story of the Jews and refugees that escaped to Japan are virtually unknown. All the more reason to visit Port of Humanity Tsuruga Museum. Kehi no Matsubara Kehi no Matsubara is a beach located right near the center of Tsuruga. It became part of a national forest preserve a century ago. Outside of the high season in late-July and August, the beach is peaceful and often empty. Come for a swim on a hot summer day, but feel free to come even after that season, for a stroll along the beach. ©NAVITIME JAPAN. Travel Info Check out our travel tips to make your trip better!
อยู่ห่างออกไปทางตะวันออกเฉียงเหนือของเกียวโต ผาโทจินโบคือจุดแบ่งจังหวัดฟูกูอิออกจากทะเลญี่ปุ่นซึ่งเป็นดินแดนทอดยาวควรค่าแก่การสำรวจ ที่นี่มีกีฬาทางน้ำและอาหารทะเลมากมายให้ลองเล่นและลองชิม ทางตะวันตกของจังหวัดเป็นชายฝั่งเต็มไปด้วยโขดหินและชายหาดที่งดงามสะดุดตา เมื่อเข้าไปข้างใน ฟูกูอิเป็นที่ตั้งของวัดทางพุทธศาสนานิกายเซ็นและซากปรักหักพังที่สำคัญทางประวัติศาสตร์
- ฮอกไกโด / โทโฮคุ
- โคชินเอ็ทสุ / โฮคุริคุ
- คิวชู / โอกินาว่า