All Seasons

Explore Fukui Prefecture:From Festivals to Zen Practicing in the Ancient Temples

Hikkey

Writer

Fukui prefecture faces the Sea of Japan. It is surrounded by Kyoto, Shiga, Gifu and Ishikawa Prefectures. I would say that Fukui is not the major prefecture to visit in Japan, yet you will be surprised in a good way with nature, history, and food once you get there. Fukui Prefecture is the place for the known in the know. If you are tired of spending time in the hustle and bustle atmosphere of the big cities like Tokyo or Osaka, Fukui prefecture is the place for you to go. In this article, I will introduce 10 recommended festivals to join and things to do in Fukui prefecture. Let’s check them out!

Contents

 

★About Fukui Prefecture
★10 Recommended Festivals in Fukui by Season
– Fukui Awara Hot Spring Festival (Spring)
– The Water Sending Festival (Spring)
– Fukui Spring Festival – Echizen Jidai Parade (Spring)
– Kachiyama Sagicho Festival (Spring)
– Fukui Phoenix Festival (Summer)
– Super Ogase Festival (Summer)
– Echizen Asakura Sengoku Festival (Summer)
– Sabae Autumn Leave Festival (Autumn)
– Ikeda Eco Candle Festival (Autumn)
– Houze Festival (Autumn)

★Places to Visit and Things to Do in Fukui Prefecture
– Maruoka Castle, Eihei Temple, Kehi Shrine, and Shikibu Park for the History Lovers
– Awara Spa Resort, Echizen Spa Resort, and Kuzuryu Spa resort for Hot Spring Lovers
– Tojinbo, Tojo Museum of History, and Ski Jam Katsuyama for Nature Lovers

★Closing Remarks

 

About Fukui Prefecture

Fukui Prefecture is in the east of Tokyo. It is probably a lot easier to get to Fukui from Osaka rather than Tokyo. From Osaka, you can access Fukui by bus or train for a reasonable price. If you want to visit Fukui prefecture from Tokyo, you can either fly, take Shinkansen, or long night bus would be the best choice for transportation. Fukui Prefecture is almost in the center of Japan. It faces the Sea of Japan. The climate there is fairly moderate in the summer compared to the other places in Japan. It gets to about 30 degrees maximum. You can enjoy the fresh breeze at the seaside.

But if you plan to visit in Fukui in the winter, you have to be careful. It does not get too cold but snows a lot. Otherwise, Fukui prefecture is a small prefecture with around 700,000 inhabitants. People, there are rather friendly and nice (Could be shy compared to Osaka). You will enjoy historical sites, natural landscapes, and resort spots whenever you visit Fukui.

10 Recommended Festivals in Fukui by Season

Like any other prefecture in Japan, Fukui Prefecture offers many festivals to join throughout the year. Each festival in Fukui prefecture reflects the uniqueness of the place. It is always good to join local festivals because it gives you a good opportunity to learn the history and culture of the place where you visit. Here, I assembled 10 recommended festivals to see in Fukui by the season. You can find the one that suits you the best from this list.

Fukui Awara Hot Spring Festival (Spring)

Awara City is famous for a large number of hot springs. There are 46 hot springs located around the city. This festival takes place in April. Visiting Fukui around this month would be a bit cold but good for enjoying hot springs. After joining and walking around the city in the cold weather, you can soak in the hot spring and warm your body up. This festival is a one-day event, you can either find the place with hot spring to stay over for the festival in Awara city or visit the city from Fukui city for one day trip.

Details and Access

This festival takes place on April 29th every year for one day. There will be Japanese floats and people parading around the city. Most of the participants at the festival put on traditional Japanese kimono. Although the festival itself is not huge the energy that people carry is somewhat powerful. Not only you will enjoy the energetic performance, traditional Japanese festival food during the event is also delicious. Since this festival goes on from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., you have plenty of time to enjoy both the festival and the hot springs. You can find more information about this festival at the official website, URL: http://awara.info/cat-sightseeing/%E3%81%82%E3%82%8F%E3%82%89%E6%B8%A9%E6%B3%89%E6%98%A5%E3%81%BE%E3%81%A4%E3%82%8A (only in Japanese)
Alternatively, you can check the following article, URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/events/fukui-awara-hot-springs-festival-spring

The Water Sending Festival (Spring)

This Water Sending Festival relates to the history of a local temple. As you might have realized there are many temples and shrines in Japan. And most of festival and events in Japan are related to either history or traditions of those temples and shrines. This festival is one of those. It takes place at Wakasa Temple in Fukui Prefecture on March 2nd every year. The highlight of this event is Gomataki. It is very traditional and holy.

Details and Access

This festival associate with Todaiji Temple, one of the famous temples in Japan that is in Nara prefecture. The original custom and the ritual of this festival follows the same called event Omizutori (お水取り) in Todaiji Temple. This festival starts right before noon. Prayers in the traditional outfits start praying to get bad spirits away and make a circle around the fire. This is called Gomataki. At the end of the festival, those prayers carry water from Onyu River that was sent from Todaiji Temple in Nara Prefecture. You can access the temple by a shuttle bus from Higashi Obama station. For more information, please check the following article, URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/events/water-sending-festival-fukui

Fukui Spring Festival – Echizen Jidai Parade (Spring)

Fukui Spring Festival is one of the biggest events in Fukui prefecture. Especially the Echizen Jidai Parade (越前時代行列) is something that you really should check out if you happen to be in Fukui prefecture around this season. This festival takes place at the beginning of April. The specific day for in 2019 has not been announced yet but in 2018 it was held on April 14th. What is amazing about this festival is the costumes. People dress like if they lived in ancient times and parade through the main street in Fukui City. It is truly a good opportunity to learn about the culture and history of Fukui Prefecture.

Details and Access

The name of this festival Echizen which is an old way of calling Fukui City. This event is a yearly event and the first one was held 34 years ago. Every year, over 100,000 people come and enjoy this festival. You will see locals and famous people who dress in costumes of Samurai, Princess, or Nobles parading through the city. The view is pretty fun and beautiful. Each group represents a part of the history from the Heian period to the Edo period. You will also enjoy Japanese traditional festival foods during the event. There is no reason for you to miss this fascinating event. If you want to know more about this festival, please refer to the following article, URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/events/echizen-jidai-gyoretsu-samurai-parade-spring-festival-fukui

Kachiyama Sagicho Festival (Spring)

This festival takes place in Kachiyama City. Sagicho means fire. This event boasts 300 years of history. Since the ancient times, local people in Kachiyama city have loved and carried out this festival. Sagicho Festival usually takes place at the end of February for two days. As for 2019, it will take place on February 24th and 25th. Since there are different events each day during the festival, I suggest you join both days. If you are short with time, you should not miss the second day. There will be a huge fire event on February 25th and it is the remarkable point of this festival.

Details and Access

This festival starts around noon on both days. It celebrates the arrival of spring and appreciates rich harvests. Another remarkable point of this festival is Yagura, the Japanese traditional festival car that carries people on the top. Big yagura will parade with traditional festival music and people in the festival costumes. The scene is super energetic and makes your heart bump. You can access the venue from Kachiyama station on Echizen line within 5 minutes by walk. If you are looking for something traditional and local, this festival is the one for you to join. For more information about this celebration, please check the following article, URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/events/fukui-kachiyama-sagicho-festival-can-something-burning-festival

Fukui Phoenix Festival (Summer)

Summer is the best season for exploring fireworks events in Japan. There will be tons of fireworks festivals going on all over Japan around this season. Yes, Fukui is not an exception. Fukui Phoenix Festival takes place on the first weekend of August every year for three days in Fukui City. There will be not only colorful fireworks dancing in the sky with the music, but also dance competition that will make you feel like dancing with others.

Details and Access

There are three highlights that you cannot miss during this festival. Those are fireworks (of course), Yosakoi Dance Competition, and Parade. Especially the fireworks at this festival is something you should definitely check. There will be over 10,000 fireworks shot in the sky that will make the venue super blight. It takes place on the first day of the festival at 6:00 p.m. by Asuwagawa River. On the second day, you can enjoy Yosakoi Dance, and the third day is for Parade. Joining this festival will make your trip to Fukui much more memorable. Don’t miss it! You can check more information about this festival in the following article, URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/events/fukui-phoenix-festival-event-rises-every-year-fireworks

Super Ogase Festival (Summer)

Super Ogase Festival is a 300 years old historical event. It is one of the most energetic and heroic events you should check in Japan. This festival takes place in Ooi town at the beginning of August every year. The specific date for 2019 has not been determined yet. In 2018, it was held on August 4th. This festival is the No.1 fireworks festival in Fukui prefecture. You will see powerful fire performance and beautiful fireworks sparkling in the sky at Super Ogase festival.

Details and Access

This festival is actually registered as an important cultural heritage in Japan. There will be traditional Japanese drum performance, pine tree torchlight parade before the magnificent fireworks and performance. The highlight of this festival is called “Super Ogase”, a giant 20 meters high pine torch will be set on fire and swung by masculine guys. The torch will be thrown into the ocean at the end of the festivity. Then, the fireworks start when the festival gets to the climax with the fire torch! You will regain the energy when joining this festival! Don’t miss it. For the details, please refer to the following article, URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/events/wakasa-ooi-no-super-ogase-festival-glorious-fire-festival

Echizen Asakura Sengoku Festival (Summer)

Echizen Asakura Sengoku Festival takes place in late August every year in Fukui City. The specific date for the festival in 2019 has not been announced yet, but in 2018 it was held from August 25th to 26th. This is a two days festival which brings Samurai spirit to the city. Asakura family ruled Fukui prefecture during the Sengoku period, and this festival originated from their culture and history. Joining this festival will bring you back to the gorgeous times when Fukui prefecture flourished with its culture.

Details and Access

What you will see during this festival are a parade, martial arts, and drum performances. The remarkable point of this festival is a parade. Local people dress up in Samurai armors and parade through the historical remains and towns in Ichijo Dani Asakura ruins. The parade looks real as if those were Asakura soldiers who came back from the old times. Also, there will be food vendors lining up at the festival venue. You can enjoy Japanese traditional festival food while enjoying the performance. It is a good chance to see local history indeed. For more information and details about this festival, please refer to the following article, URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/events/echizen-asakura-sengoku-matsuri-see-parade-samurai-wearing-armor-fukui

Sabae Autumn Leave Festival (Autumn)

When the season changes from the hot summer to autumn, Japanese people get ready to the next seasonal event called Koyo Meguri (Visiting Autumn Leaves Spots). What is great about autumn is enjoying leaves changing their colors that tell us of the change of the season with this beautiful transformation. Kyoto and Nara are well known Japanese Koyo places for admiring autumn leaves, but Sabae City is also worth visiting to feel real Japanese autumn.

Details and Access

The best season to visit Sabae for autumn leaves in the middle of November. There is a park called Nishiyama Park, and it is the autumn leaves spot for you to go. There, you will see about 1600 maple trees changing colors around this season. This park is also listed in Japan’s 100 Top parks to visit. Strolling and enjoying autumn leaves at Nishiyama Park in the mild weather will help you to relax and enjoy the change of seasons. For more information about this beautiful autumn festival, please check the following article, URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/events/sabae-autumn-leaves-festival-nishiyama-park-fukui

Ikeda Eco Candle Festival (Autumn)

If you are an environmentally friendly type of person, this festival is worth checking. You can share your devotion to the environment and relax at this festival. Ikeda Eco Candle Festival was first held in 2004 to raise awareness for the importance of the environment. It started as a recycling project for people living in Ikeda City. Now, this event became one of the biggest eco festivals that helps people to learn more about the environmental issues in Fukui Prefecture.

Details and Access

There will be over 10000 candles made of recycled materials such as paper lids, milk bins, and cooking oils lit the city. The light of those candles creates a cozy atmosphere and surround the city with warm candlelight. It is a perfect moment to take it easy and chill. This festival took place on September 23rd in 2017. Unfortunately, it was canceled in 2018. The specific date for 2019 has not been updated yet. You can check their official site here, URL (Japanese only): http://ecoikeda.jp/wp_ecocandle/ For more information about this festival, please check at the following article, URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/events/ikeda-eco-candle-festival

Houze Festival (Autumn)

Houze festival takes place in Obama City on the third weekend of September every year. It is the biggest festival in Obama city. Also, this festival is registered as an intangible folk cultural asset. There will be Dashi (portable shrines) and Mikoshi parading with Japanese traditional music and dance performance at the venue during the festival. I would say this festival is very Japanese and strongly suggest you visit it if you’d like to witness old Japanese traditions.

Details and Access

The highlight of this festival is the number of portable shrines. Each portable shrine has its character. On the top of those portable shrines, you can also enjoy traditional Japanese lion dance called Shishimai while you are at the venue. It is only 10 minutes walk from Obama station to get to the event site. If you want to find out what is Japanese authentic event is, this festival is the one for you to join. You can check more information about this festival in the following article, URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/events/houze-matsuri-houze-ceremony-obama-city-influenced-religion

Places to Visit and Things to Do in Fukui Prefecture

Other than those festivals mentioned above, there are many other things you can do in Fukui prefecture. You can visit historical sites to learn more about Fukui prefecture or simply relax at hot springs or be active and explore the local nature. In this section, you can find out what to do in Fukui prefecture other than visiting festivals or events. Let’s make your trip more exciting!

For the History Lovers

Historically, Fukui prefecture was an important place as a transportation hub between the northern part of Japan and Kyoto and Osaka. Due to this fact, there are many historical places that you can explore in the Fukui prefecture. Asakura clan is one of the famous Samurai families that governed and developed Fukui prefecture during the Sengoku period. Also, there are worth visiting temples and shrines in the area. Each of them has a different atmosphere from those in Kyoto or Nara. I am pretty sure you will enjoy learning the history of Fukui prefecture through visiting those historical spots.

Maruoka Castle

You will find this castle in the northern part of Fukui prefecture. Maruoka castle is the only one with the tower in Tohoku Area of Japan. It is also called Kasumiga Castle. The castle is ranked in the top 100 castles to visit in Japan. Maruoka Castle was built during Azuchi Momoyama Period when Nobunaga Oda was flourishing with his power. Unlike Osaka castle or Himeji castle, Maruoka castle is simple yet majestic. The best season to visit this establishment would be spring. The contrast of the color of cherry blossoms and the castle would take your breath away. If you want to know more about this place, please visit its official website, URL: http://www.maruoka-kanko.org/400_special/010_castle/ (Only in Japanese)

Eihei Temple

Eihei Temple in Fukui Prefecture is the head Temple of Hoso School of Buddhism. It locates in the northern part of Fukui Prefecture and stands in the deep forests. No matter when you visit this temple, you can enjoy the colors and change of the seasons there. The surroundings there are pretty quiet and relaxing. This is the best place to forget about your busy and ordinary days in the city. There are over 200 monks practicing Buddhism in this temple. You can stay over at the temple for 8000 Yen. During your stay, you can practice Zen (禅) and try Shojin Cuisine (精進料理). As it is in the forest, the best way to access the temple is taking a shuttle bus from Fukui station. For more information, please visit their official website, URL: https://daihonzan-eiheiji.com/en/

Kehi Shrine

Kehi Shrine is one of the three Shrines you should visit in Japan. It in Tsuruga City in Fukui Prefecture. This old and traditional shrine was built in 702. Kehi Shrine is one of the oldest shrines after Kasuga Shrine in Kyoto and Itsukushima Shrine in Hiroshima. It is also a total tutelary of Tohoku Area of Japan. Like any other shrines and temples, Kehi Shrine has the biggest traditional event in September called Keesan Festival. Many people from Kyoto, Osaka and Shiga prefectures come and join this festival. You can visit the shrine in any season you want, but if you are curious about a traditional event at the oldest Shrine in Japan, September would be the best month to be there. For more details and information about this place, please visit the shrine’s official homepage, URL: http://kehijingu.jp/ (Only in Japanese)

Shikibu Park

The Tale of Genji is one of the oldest and famous in Japanese classic literature. The author of this great history is Murasaki Shikibu, a well-educated woman who served for Michizane Fujiwara in the Heian Period. The Shikibu Park is in Echizen City in Fukui Prefecture. Echizen city was the center of Fukui prefecture when Genji family abused their authority. It is said that Murasaki Shikibu spent about a year in the area where this park locates back then. So, this park was built to remember Murasaki Shikibu.

There are several traditional looking buildings in the park. And a bunch of flowers and trees contribute to people’s enjoyment every season. This is the perfect place to enjoy time with family and chill. For more details and information about this place, please visit the park’s official homepage: http://fujinami-tei.jp/park.html (Only in Japanese)

For Hot Spring Lovers

Fukui Prefecture is famous as a Spa resort for people living in the Kansai area. Not only you can totally relax at those famous spa resorts but also enjoy fresh seafood during your visit in Fukui prefecture. Awara Hot springs, Mikuni Hot springs, and Echizen Hot springs are the three famous spa resorts. The best season to visit those three areas is winter. You will enjoy the landscape covered with white snow while soaking in the warm onsen waters. Looking over the white world while you are in the hot spring is something magical that Fukui prefecture provides every visitor with.

Awara Spa Resort

image courtesy of Opqr

Awara Spa Resort is the most famous Spa Resort in Fukui prefecture. It locates in Aawara City, in the northern part of the prefecture. It developed as a resort area in the Meiji period. There are some natural spots to explore such as Tojinbo and O island. There are many hotels that offer daytime hot spring experience. You can stroll around the city and natural spots while you do hot spring hopping.

If you are too shy to take off your clothes in a public bath, there are facilities called Ashiyu where you can put only your legs in the hot springs. There is a place called Yukemuri Yokocho (湯けむり横丁) in the area where you can try several local and traditional Japanese dishes. Visiting Awara Spa Resort will definitely make you relax and satisfy your stomach. You can check the details of Awara Spa resort at the official website of Awara city, URL: http://awara.info/language-english/en-awara-onsen-facilities

Echizen Spa Resort

image courtesy of npyan

Echizen Spa Resort is the second famous Spa resort in Fukui prefecture. There are many people visiting this spa resort, especially in winter for tasting crabs. Winter is the best season for crab catching, and Echizen is known as the city of crabs. What you can try during your visit in this area, is Echizen crab Nabe (hot pot). The taste of those crabs is super amazing.

Another attractive part of this spa resort is the Sea of Japan. Many hotels with hot spring face the sea. You can enjoy the sunset or sunrise over the ocean while you are in a hot spring. The view from there is stunning and overwhelming. Echizen Spa resort has several historical spots to explore as well. It would be a good idea to stroll around the area during the daytime while hot spring hopping. For more information about the area, please visit the official website of Echizen city, URL: http://www.town-echizen.jp/en/

Kuzuryu Spa Resort

Unlike Awara and Echizen Spa Resorts, the Kuzuryu Spa resort locates on the mountain side of the Fukui prefecture. Kuzuryu Area is in Katsuyama City in Fukui prefecture. The area shows various features throughout the season. And several outdoor facilities are scattering around the area for camping, hiking, trekking, and skiing. From spring to autumn, you can enjoy hiking or trekking in the green or colorful scenery of the mountains. In winter, you can try Skiing or snowboarding. Kuzuryu Spa resort is the perfect area for someone who wants to stay active but relax at the same time. Taking hot spring after an active day relaxes your body and mind. For more details and information about this place, please visit the official website of Katsuyama city, URL: https://katsuyama-navi.jp/genre/stay_spa/ (Only in Japanese)

For Nature Lovers

There are several beautiful nature spots to visit in Fukui Prefecture. As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, Fukui prefecture is surrounded both by the ocean and the mountains. You can visit seaside or mountainside, whichever suit your preferences. Spending time in the natural spots totally helps you to relax and ease your mood. I would say visiting Fukui prefecture is a journey of healing from the exhaustion of ordinary daily life. Here are three natural spots that you should visit when you are in Fukui prefecture.

TojinBo

If you want to see something superb, you should visit Tojinbo. Tojinbo is a very interesting and rare stretch of rugged basalt cliffs that represents Fukui prefecture. The cliff cut by the ocean waves stretches for about 1km along the seaside. The view from there is powerful and magnificent. There are many people from all over Japan who visit Tojinbo to experience this great view. You can walk around the top of the cliff or go up to the Tojinbo tower and look down at the scenery. They also offer a cruising tour. If you have time, you can visit O island from there as well. There is no reason for you to miss this great view when you are in Fukui prefecture. Please check more information about this place at Sakai City Official Website, URL: http://www.city.fukui-sakai.lg.jp/kanko/kanko-bunka/kanko/shizen/tojinbo.html (Only in Japanese)

Suisho Beach

Other than Shirahama Beach in Wakayama prefecture, I personally think Suisho Beach in Fukui prefecture is the most beautiful beach in Japan. Fukui prefecture actually has many beautiful beaches. But Suisho Beach in Mihama City is extraordinary and stands out among all other beach spots in Fukui prefecture. Suisho means Crystal in Japanese. It was shining and clean white sand with blue transparent water. This beach is famous for outdoor summer sports such as windsurfing, regular surfing, and of course swimming in the summer. Except for the summer season, you can visit this beautiful beach for the sunset. Please visit their website at http://www.wakasamihama.jp/eng/beach/ to get more information.

Ski Jam Katsuyama

Fukui Prefecture gets really snowy in winter. Ski Jam Katsuyama is a famous ski resort in Fukui Prefecture. There are many people coming to Ski Jam Katsuyama from Kansai Area to enjoy winter sports during the ski season. The quality of snow is a bit different from Nagano prefecture or Hokkaido. It is rather heavy and hard snow yet good enough to go down the mountains. Local mountains offer the longest ski course in the Kansai area. The course is 5800 m long. It is pretty challenging to go down from the top to the bottom without any break. There is also a hot spring to heal your body after a long day in the facility. Why don’t you visit these fantastic mountains in the winter? Please visit their website at https://www.snow-skijam.jp/# (Only in Japanese) to get more information.

Closing Remarks

Thank you for reading this article to the end. I hope it made you feel like exploring Fukui prefecture. It is difficult to list all good festivals and places you can visit in Fukui prefecture in one article. As you read, this prefecture offers great opportunities to learn the history, explore the magnificent nature, and relaxing hot springs. When people plan to visit Japan, Fukui may not be a No.1 choice due to its small size and fame. But Fukui prefecture is the best place to experience authentic Japan and enjoy quietness.

Your trip will be more rewarding if you connect with local people prior to your trip. Try Huber. services and find some locals in Fukui who will help you to sketch out your travel plans, will suggest you the best places to visit according to your wishes, and will bring you to local festivals! For more information, please click on the banner below.

Would You Like to Know How to Enjoy a Japanese Festival Even More?

A lot of people when they get to a Matsuri for the first time feel a bit lost. They confuse about what is happening around. If you are new to Japanese Festivals or want to know an alternative way of how you can enjoy these events, the following article will provide you with a set of helpful tips on how to choose a proper festival and activities you should try there. Please don`t hesitate to take a look at it!

URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/5363/

Don`t Stay Hungry at the Festival!

Image courtesy of  Takashi Hososhima

For all foodies who enjoy Japanese Festivals would be nice to get acquainted with the rich choice offered by Yatai (Japanese festival food stalls). The food presented during Matsuri is pretty different from the one you get at the restaurants in Japan. Besides, there is a certain charm in grabbing some snack from a food stall and diving back into the festival crowd. I am sure that you will discover something new about Japanese festival food from the following article!

URL: https://festivalgo.huber-japan.com/events/5504/

Hikkey

Yogi and Snowboarder. Love to explore nature and to meet new people. Currently, residing in the Kansai area in Japan.

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