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Category-History/Culture

Kumagawa-Juku Shukubakan

Asano Nagamasa, who was a confidant of Shogun Toyotomi Hideyoshi and became the Lord of Wakasa, decided to establish Kumagawa-Juku as a post station in 1589. The location was important from both transportation and military perspectives. The 'Wakasa Kaido', the road by which goods traveled over the mountains between Wakasa (on the Sea of Japan coast) and the capital in Kyoto, also became known as the 'Saba Kaido' on account of its use in transporting fish including mackerel (saba) to the capital. The Saba Kaido passes through Kumagawa-Juku which retains a traditional street lined with Edo Period buildings in various styles. Kumagawa-Juku has been designated as an important traditional Building Preservation District by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.
A fast-flowing brook called the Maegawa flows along the side of the Saba Kaido within Kumagawa-Juku, helping to conjure an atmosphere of past times in which the visitor is transported back to Japan's Edo Period (approx. 1600~1867).
People can learn about the history of Kumagawa-Juku and the Saba Kaido at the 'Wakasa Saba Kaido Kumagawa-Juku Shiryokan (archives museum)', known as 'Shukubakan' for short.
The building that houses this museum was originally the Kumagawa Village Office.
This building itself, which mixes Japanese and Western design elements, features a porch with cylindrical columns and a hipped tiled roof. At the time of its construction,
Western cultural influences were being actively adopted by the Japanese, a trend very much evident in the architecture of this building.

Features

One of the most outstanding things about the townscape of Kumagawa-Juku (Kumagawa Lodgings), which developed as an Edo-era relay station town in Fukui Prefecture, is that the rows of buildings along the main street consist of kura (storehouses) interspersed between machiya (townhouses). In addition, the roofs of the machiya are varied, being a mixture of 'hirairi' and 'tsumairi' designs, and their outer walls are plastered in several distinct ways including so-called 'shinkabe-zukuri' and 'nurigome-zukuri' styles. Kumagawa-Juku’s main street possesses a unique aesthetic continuity despite the mixing of buildings of totally different architectural styles. As such, Kumagawa-Juku has been designated as an important traditional Building Preservation District.
Maegawa (Fresh Water Conduit)
The Maegawa River, a narrow watercourse with a strong and rapid current running along the side of the main street, is an indispensable part of Kumagawa-Juku’s historic scenery. This mountain stream begins at Kaminocho at the point where the Kitagawa River joins the Amasugawa River upstream from Osugi. From there, it flows by the side of the main road and eventually falls into the Kouchi River at the foot of Chujo Bridge, before flowing on to Shimoncho. In Kumagawa-Juku, special water facilities known as 'kawato' are installed in each house.
Street Building Characteristics
A hirairi-tatemono is a building with its main roof ridge running parallel with the street, so that the eaves also run along the street. By contrast, a tsumairi-tatemono is a building with its main roof running at right angles to the street, so that the triangular wall below the roof faces the street. Shinkabe-zukuri is a style in which the timber pillars of the walls are on view, while nurigome-zukuri is a style in which the timber parts including pillars and eaves are hidden.
Roof Appearance
Among the machiya of Kumagawa-Juku, the older buildings are built in the 'tsushi-nikai' style, featuring a low-ceiling upper floor, with the newer ones built in the 'hon-nikai' style, the upper floors having full-height ceilings. This change followed a trend towards using upper floors in the same way as lower floors. In the tsushi-nikai style, windows with gratings are installed at the front. These are called 'mushiko-mado'. The top of the roof has a 'mukuri' which makes the shape slightly convex. The most common roof tiles are 'matte Wakasa-made Ibushi-gawara' tiles which are used together with special 'Yukidome-gawara' (snow-stopping) tiles. In addition 'koshi-yane', designed for smoke ventilation, can be seen here and there. In the main entrances of some of the buildings once used by forwarding agents the visitor can still see the iron rings, known as 'komatsunagi', used for tying up the horses. Moreover, some of the buildings are equipped with a 'sodekabe-udatsu', a structural element designed to prevent fire from spreading from one building to the next.
Access: By car: Approx. 30 minutes drive from the Maizuru Wakasa Expressway's ObamaNishi IC.
By bus: JR Bus Jakugo Line, get off at the Wakasa Kumagawa stop.
Opening Hours: Visitors can view the street freely at any time. (Shukubakan: Open 09:00 ~ 17:00)
Closed Days: Visitors can view the street freely at any time. The Shukubakan is closed on Mondays (or on the following day when the Monday is a national holiday), and over the year-end/New Year holidays.
Fare: Shukubakan admission fees: ¥200 for adults,
free for children up to junior high school age
Parking: Michi no Eki (Wakasa Kumagawa-Juku): space for 31 cars,
Shukubakan: space for 4 cars
Inquiries: Shukubakan 0770-62-0330

Wakasa History and Culture Hall

In Wakasa Town there are many sites of ancient remains. Examples include the Torihama shell mound from the prehistoric Jomon Period, the Yuri remains in the Hasu River watershed, and the Kaminaka remains from the Kofun Period (250~538 AD) in the Kitagawa River watershed. These sites are well known both in domestically and internationally as representative examples of Japan’s distant historic heritage.
The Wakasa Rekishibunkakan (museum) exhibits relics unearthed from burial mounds believed to be the ancestral graves of the powerful Kashiwade-no-Omi family that once ruled Miketsunokuni Wakasa, a kingdom within the Kitagawa River area.
Access: By car: approx. 50 mins. drive from the Hokuriku Expressway's Tsuruga IC or approx. 30 mins. drive from JR Omi-Imazu Station.
Opening Hours: 09:00 ~ 17:00 (Last entry 16:30)
Closed Days: Closed on Mondays (or on the following day when the Monday is a national holiday), and over the year-end/New Year holidays. * Also occasionally closed temporarily for building fumigation.
Fare: Free
Parking: Available
Inquiries: Wakasa-town Bunkazai Section 0770-62-2711

Jomon Life Experience

The Wakasa Mikata Jomon Museum conducts a wide range of 'hands-on' experience classes such as clay pipe making, fire making using Jomon Period methods, 'magatama' curved bead making, and earthenware pot making. Why not visit the museum yourself and experience Jomon life?
Access: From JR Obama Line Mikata Station: approx. 10 minutes by bicycle (rental bicycles available at the station), approx. 20 minutes on foot.
By car: approx. 30 mins. drive from the Hokuriku Expressway's Tsuruga IC or approx. 50 mins. drive from the Wakasa-Maizuru Expressway's Obama-Nishi IC.
Opening Hours: 09:00 ∼ 17:00 (Last entry 16:30)
Closed Days: Closed on Mondays (or on the following day when the Monday is a national holiday) and over the year-end/New Year holidays. * Also occasionally closed temporarily for building fumigation.
Fare: Fees differ based on the experience classes menu
Parking: Available
Inquiries: Wakasa Mikata Jomon Museum 0770-45-2270

Wakasa Mikata Jomon Museum

In Wakasa Town there are many remains from the pre-historic Jomon Period, such as the Torihama shell mound. This museum exhibits examples of excavated articles dating from the Jomon Period and is also a good place for learning about Jomon lifestyle and culture, such as the food the Jomon people ate and the tools they used.
Access: From JR Obama Line Mikata Station: approx. 10 minutes by bicycle (rental bicycles available at the station), approx. 20 minutes on foot.
By car: approx. 30 mins. drive from the Hokuriku Expressway's Tsuruga IC or approx. 50 mins. drive from the Wakasa-Maizuru Expressway's Obama-Nishi IC.
Opening Hours: 09:00 ∼ 17:00 (Last entry 16:30)
Closed Days: Closed on Mondays (or on the following day when the Monday is a national holiday) and over the year-end/New Year holidays. * Also occasionally closed temporarily for building fumigation.
Fare: ¥200: elementary, junior high and high school students • ¥500: college students and adults • Group discount: 20% off for groups of 20 or more people • Free: infants (pre-elementary school children)
Inquiries: 0770-45-2270

Mikata Ishi Kannon (Deity Statue)

One night sometime in the Enryaku Period (about 1,200 years ago) the priest Kobodaishi had secluded himself in this mountain area and was carving a stone (ishi) statue of the Kannon (Goddess of Mercy). However he was forced to abandon his effort upon hearing a rooster crow to announce the daybreak. He left the mountain and the statue's right hand remained unfinished. This site is now designated as a special holy site along the Hokuriku 33 Kannon Pilgrimage and, on acccount of the statue's missing limb, is said to have healing powers for limb disabilities. The path to the mountainside away from the Main Hall leads to a spring called 'Kannon Reisui' and, in March 2006, the spring's water 'Fukui no Oishii Mizu' (Fukui's Delicious Water) was recognised as among the very best from Fukui.
Access: By car: 30 mins. from the Tsuruga IC off the Hokuriku Expressway
On foot: 15 mins. from JR Mikata Station (or 5 mins. by taxi)
Opening Hours: The Main Hall is open from 8:00 to 17:00 all year-round.
Fare: Free
Parking: Available
Inquiries: Mikata Ishi Kannon Office, 0770-45-0017

Uwase Shrine

The 'Ono Mai' dance, held every April 8th at Uwase Jinja (Shrine) is designated as one of the nation's intangible folklore cultural assets. It involves a lively ritual dance performed as a prayer to secure good harvests, bumper catches and nation-wide peace.
Access: By car: 30 mins. from Tsuruga IC off the Hokuriku Expressway
By taxi: 10 mins. from JR Mikata Station
Fare: Free
Parking: Not available
Inquiries: Uwase Shrine, 0770-45-0326

Tentokuji (Temple) Hachijuhakkasho (88 Places)

It is said that the priest Kobodaishi ordered a mason in Sado to carve 88 stone Buddhist images (modelled after those on the Shikoku Pilgrimage) to establish this site as a holy ground. Soil from each Shikoku Pilgrimage site was buried in front of each stone. To step on the ground in front of each is said to be equivalent to walking the actual Shikoku Pilgrimage, with all the associated gains.
Access: By car: 50 mins. from Tsuruga IC off the Hokuriku Expressway. 30 mins. from Kohama-Nishi IC off the Maizuru-Wakasa Expressway.
By taxi: 20 mins. from JR Mikata Station
Inquiries: Wakasa Mikatagoko Tourism Association, 0770-45-0113

Hitokoto Jinja (Shrine)

Hitokoto Jinja is a shrine without pavilion halls because the god enshrined 'within' is actually the surrounding mountain. It is said wishes will be granted so long as the person making the wish does not tell anyone else.
Access: By car: 50mins. from Tsuruga IC off the Hokuriku Expressway. 30 mins. from Kohama-Nishi IC off the Maizuru-Wakasa Expressway.
By taxi: 25 mins. from JR Mikata Station
Inquiries: Wakasa Mikatagoko Tourism Association, 0770-45-0113

Ebisu Jinja (Shrine) (city-designated cultural property)

Ebisu Jinja, also known as 'Wakasa Ebisu', was established in the Nara Period (8th century). Worshippers to the shrine pray to the god of business and fishing, and a protectorate god of children. The vermilion-lacquered shrine gate is designated a city's cultural property. A specialty product, 'Ebisu Ame' (candy) is popular as it also brings good luck.
Access: By car: 40 mins. from Tsuruga IC off the Hokuriku Expressway. 40 mins. from Kohama-Nishi IC off the Maizuru-Wakasa Expressway.
By taxi: 15 mins. from JR Mikata Station
Parking: Available
Inquiries: Wakasa Mikatagoko Tourism Association 0770-45-0113

Matsunoki Jinja (Shrine)

Matsunoki Jinja (Shrine) was built to enshrine Matsunoki Shozaemon, a peasant martyr who protested against heavy feudal land taxes. He succeeded in his cause but was executed. Inside the shrine there is a building called 'Giminkan' built to honor Shozaemon's noble spirit. This site is also known as a excellent spot to view cherry blossom and red leaves.
Inquiries: Wakasa Mikatagoko Tourism Association, 0770-45-0113

Ichou Kannon Ginkgo Statue (city-designated cultural property)

The Ichou Kannon is a statue of the 11-faced Goddess of Mercy carved into the trunk of a large 450-year-old ginkgo tree growing near Taio-ji Temple. Taio-ji is a well-known Soto-shu sect temple established at the end of Muromachi Period (16th century). This Goddess of Mercy is said to have the power to save people from various hardships and to fulfill modest wishes.
Access: By car: 40 mins. from Tsuruga IC off the Hokuriku Expressway. 40 mins. from Kohama-Nishi IC off the Maizuru-Wakasa Expressway.
By taxi: 15 mins. from JR Mikata Station
Inquiries: Wakasa Mikatagoko Tourism Association, 0770-45-0113

Yokihi Cherry Tree (city-designated cultural property)

The Yokihi-zakura is a celebrated cherry tree in the grounds of Fukujoji Temple. The yokihi is one variety of Japanese cherry tree and blossoms in middle to late April. This particular 8-meter-high tree, with its double-flowered rose-pink blossoms is regarded as "the most elegant cherry tree in Fukui Prefecture" by enthusiasts.
Access: By car: 40 mins. from Tsuruga IC off the Hokuriku Expressway. 40 mins. from Kohama-Nishi IC off the Maizuru-Wakasa Expressway.
By taxi: 18 mins. from JR Mikata Station
Inquiries: Wakasa Mikatagoko Tourism Association, 0770-45-0113

Kagonoki Tree of Ogawa Shrine (city-designated cultural property)

This 'Kagonoki' tree (scientifc name: Actinodaphne lancifolia) can be found on the right hand side of the stone steps leading up to the Ogawa Shrine pavilion. This is a warm-climate tree and Wakasa Bay is the most northern location in Japan where it grows. This tree, at 13m high, is the largest specimen in Fukui Prefecture.
Access: By car: 55 mins. from Tsuruga IC off the Hokuriku Expressway. 65 mins. from Kohama-Nishi IC off the Maizuru-Wakasa Expressway.
By taxi: 20 mins. from JR Mikata Station
Inquiries: Wakasa Mikatagoko Tourism Association, 0770-45-0113

Mikaeri Pine Tree of Enjo-ji Temple (city-designated cultural property)

The 'Mikaeri' 'looking-back' pine tree of Enjo-ji temple was chosen as one of the 10 best pine trees of Japan due to its beautiful foliage which stretches out 24.5 meters around the trunk. The local people call this picturesque 12m high tree "Ohkado no Matsu." The tree's nickname 'Mikaeri no Matsu' is said to derive from shape of its branches which bend backwards. Another theory is that its wonderful shape, which resembles an opened umbrella, captivates the viewer so much that people can't help turning around to look at it longer.
Access: By car: 30 mins. from Tsuruga IC off the Hokuriku Expressway.
By taxi: 10 mins. from JR Mikata Station
Parking: Available
Inquiries: Wakasa Mikatagoko Tourism Association, 0770-45-0113

Miyake-ku Fire Tower (Registered Tangible Cultural Asset)

The fire tower of Miyake-ku is situated almost right in the center of the Miyake Area and serves as a center symbol.
This fire tower was constructed on the roof of a building next to the Atago jizo statue (a bodhisattva protector of children), and is a defining feature of the watch tower. The tower is thought to have been built soon after a devastating fire in Miyake in 1836.
Access: By car: 40 mins. from the Tsuruga IC off the Hokuriku Expressway. 40 mins. from the Kohama-nishi IC off the Maizuru Expressway.
By taxi: 16 mins. from JR Mikata Station.
Parking: Available
Inquiries: Wakasa Mikatagoko Tourism Association, 0770-45-0113

Ancient Burial Mounds (designated an important national historic site)

17 ancient imperial graves have been confirmed here. Five mounds; the Nishizuka Mound, Kaminozuka Mound, Nakatsuka Mound, Kamifunazuka Mound and Shimofunazuka Mound were designated as historic sites in 1935. Many objects from China and the Korean Peninsula have been found within them and the inner-chambers of some round mounds are exposed. The objects excavated are all on public view (free-of-charge) in the Wakasa Town Historical Culture Center. The exterior of the mounds can be seen freely.
Access: By car: 40 mins. from the Tsuruga IC off the Hokuriku Expressway.
By taxi: 16 mins. from the JR Mikata Station.
Inquiries: Wakasa Mikatagoko Tourism Association, 0770-45-0113

Sakuma Memorial Hall

On 15th April 1910, Japan’s Imperial Submarine No.6, under the command of Captain Sakuma, had an accident and sank to the depths. Recovered articles that once belonged to the mariners who died, and information about the accident, are on display in this memorial hall. The brave action and decisions of the 30 year old captain are much admired by all who know the story. The hall, managed by the local Education committee) is not open on a regular basis.
Access: By car: 30 mins. from Tsuruga IC off the Hokuriku Expressway.
By taxi: 5 mins. from JR Mikata Station.
Opening Hours: Advance reservation required.
Fare: Free
Inquiries: Wakasa Town Education Committee 0770ー45ー2222

Category

In Wakasa Town there are over 100 lodging places. Every one of them offers the visitor the freshest sea-food harvested from the waters of Wakasa Bay, as well as seasonal produce grown within the rich nature of the surrounding mountains. The taste of the sea-food in particular is unequalled anywhere else.
Among them are a large number of Japanese-style 'bed and breakfast (plus dinner)' establishments called 'minshuku'. These pride themselves on their outstanding variety of sea-food meals. All year round they offer the tastiest fish of the season with autumn and winter catches being especially recommendable. The 'Wakasa fugu' (local blowfish) and crab, for example, are highly-regarded throughout Japan and attract many aficionados of high-quality natural food.
Whether during the season of spring-time's sublime cherry blossom, summer's camping and beach-side pursuits, or autumn's gradual turning to reds and golds, visitors will delight in the prized seasonal tastes of Wakasa.
The host and hostess from any of Wakasa's homely lodgings will give you, the visitor, the warmest of welcomes and looks forward to your visit very soon.
WAKASA Visitors Association 39-5-2,Mikata,Wakasa,Mikatakaminaka,Fukui 919-1303,Japan TEL:+81-0770-45-0113/FAX:+81-0770-45-0129
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