It’s always so refreshing to get out of town and go someplace new. Refresh the mind with all sorts of new sights and new people. Usually I like to wait till I have a long weekend or something flexible to work with when I go on an overnight trip or so, but this time my coworker and I figured it was something we could pull off during a normal weekend. So we left on a Friday directly after work to Fukui prefecture.
Fukui is right above Shiga prefecture which is close to the areas of Kyoto, Nara, and Gifu. I don’t think many people who aren’t from Japan are too familiar with Fukui, neither was I. My friend and I wanted to go to Shirakawago, but due to complications we decided for Fukui.
By train it took us about 3 hours from our hometown to Fukui Station. The train line goes straight north, right past Lake Biwa which is a gorgeous lake in the Shiga prefecture. Since we left late on a winter night it was already way too dark for us to see anything outside the train. We arrived at Fukui around 9 o clock I want to say. We almost missed a train from Kyoto, but things worked out just in time. Once we were at Fukui we went straight to our hotel. We really wanted to walk around and see what kind of things the city had since we had no idea what to expect. Walking to the hotel we saw a tram line, which while some places do have them here in Japan, they aren’t that common. Personally I really like them. They add vibrancy to the city. Certainly add some spice to photos of the city as well. Besides that the city was rather quite. It looked decently big, but there wasn’t much going on. We figured it was just because of the time we were walking about. Got to the hotel and checked in. I am always a bit anxious about hotels and staying places that aren’t home. I think I am just really particular about getting my rest. Anyway the place looked nice and we went up to the room.
Took us about 5 minutes to get the door open. Turns out all we had to do was push it, the knob wouldn’t turn so we thought it was jammed. Then we walked inside to find out there was only 1 bed. Neither of us really minded, but it was kind of annoying. For the record we are both guys. We checked the original reservation but it turns out it was just worded in a way that kind of tricked us. Oh well. We set out for dinner, got some food, I dumped a cup of water on myself, said sorry to the waiter who cleaned it up, and we completed day 1.
Day 2. Didn’t sleep well. Woke up early to start the day off right. We went down to the station and got an all-day pass for the Echizen line that runs in Fukui. It cost about 1,000 yen (10 US dollars) and we set off for the first destination, the Fukui Dinosaur Museum. Took about 50 minutes on a beautiful local line flowing throughout the beautiful mountain ranges of Fukui. It had just snowed not long before so the snow covered mountains and forests were stunning. I had taken my recently purchased film Nikon FM out for its first venture and the location was perfect. Once we arrived at the last station, we took a bus for 300 yen to the museum. We went deeper into the mountains and saw a huge sphere. That was the museum. We got off the bus and looked around at the amazing scenery surrounding us. First thing we did was head to a hill that was as tall as the museum and gazed around. Completely worth it.
The museum was amazing. I am not usually one who cares for museums too much, but this was by far one of the best I had been too. First of all the lunch/café place they had in there was great. I didn’t know museum food could be that good. Secondly the atmosphere they created in the main hall was amazing. They really made it feel like a dinosaur world in there with the models and paintings all over the place. It had music, moving dinosaurs, and all sorts of various things. The entire architecture of the building, inside and out, was really impressive too. If you go to Fukui you will defiantly want to make a stop here. I think we spent about 2 hours tops at that museum and felt that was a perfect amount of time. Including the food we ate there. From there we took the bus and train back to Fukui Station.
From there we hopped on the only other line there was at the station for the Echizen line. This time we went the opposite way. Our destination was Tojinbo. This area is actually a famous cliff face that is well known as a suicide location. It was also just a beautiful location that I wanted to take pictures at. Since we had that all-day pass it didn’t take any more money to go there. It was about 55 minutes as well to the last station here as well. We meet some friendly strangers on the train who were huge fans of a music group that had a concert in the area. Turns out the lady I was talking to teaches English at the school I studied abroad at in Nagoya. They were all a friendly bunch and one girl even gave me some snacks. To me, these types of encounters are sometimes the highlight of the trip itself. Meeting people you never would have met otherwise and enjoying that generally small time you have together. It was a good talk and put me in an ever better mood. If there was one thing I wish I was better at when it came to traveling, it would be to just talk to strangers more on the road. We split ways towards the end and left the train. Took a bus to Tojinbo. There were a lot of beaches along the way, but they were the dirtiest beaches I had seen. Not a place you wanted to lay out.
At Tojinbo we walked through a small marketplace towards the cliff, filled out a survey, and went cliff gazing. The weather was looking a little stormy at this point which kind of added to the mood, though I kinda wanted to see some clear blue sky ya know. Regardless it was a cool sight to behold. Took some more pictures and then tried to find our way to a distant island that was linked to the shore by a huge red bridge. We finally found out how to get there, but it was getting a little dodgy with the bus times so we decided to not risk getting off there and continue towards the next place.
Due to how long this post will turn into I will break it up here. Thanks for reading Part 1 and I will continue the rest soon, peace.