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The Toujinbo island
Very close to the Toujinbo cliffs there is an island which can be reached by a footbridge. There is a trail that runs the perimeter of the island, which can be covered in about a half hour. On the island you will find a shrine and forbidding scenery. It’s no secret that bodies turn up on the shore of this tiny island. Some even say the island is haunted.
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One place you should really stop if you’re in the area is Toujinbo cliffs. It’s an area of hexagon shaped rocks that were jetted to the surface due to volcanic activity. The sight is immensely beautiful and perfect for a nice stroll or boat ride. Toujinbo is also famous throughout Japan for a more sinister reason however. Unfortunately the cliffs are a popular place for suicide. The jagged rock and unforgiving current seldom leave jumpers alive.
One of the twelve originals
Sakai city (near Fukui city) is actually home to one of the twelve original castles left in Japan. It’s hard to believe but it’s very much true. Maruoka castle, which dates for 1576, is a actually a tiny castle and the inside doesn’t really contain much, besides pictures of other castles, but the entrance charge is nominal so its not a big deal to pay. The entrance fee is worth paying just so you can get a closer view of the outside of the castle.
If you’re serious about castles, than you should stop here, being that it’s an original, but for most they can easily skip it. I, however, have been there three times.
Don’t expect to spend more than a hour at this place though and Sakai city really contain much to keep you.
At the bottom of the hill there is a small museum (admission included in castle ticket).
The temple of eternal peace
If you’re heading through Fukui-ken then you should stop at Eihei-ji, the mountainside temple in the forest that is the headquarters of the Soto sect of Zen Buddhism.
The first impression of the temple is a tad disappointing, as you have to walk up a street with the usual tawdry souvenir shops, but once in the complex you’ll be amazed the Zen-like harmony between nature and Eihei-ji.
Eihei-ji is very much still a functioning temple that is very vibrant in fact. You can even stay the night and become a samrosha (religious trainee) although this requires a bit of a serious commitment on your part. You must act like a monk, that means mediation and no meat. All this can happen for 8000 yen, or you can take part in a 4 day experience for 9000 yen, by far a much better deal.
Pines by the sea
Lovely strip of pine trees planted along a great sand beach with eagles soaring overhead.
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