Hokojima and Tojimbo Cliffs

Another year, another Golden Week come and gone. It always feels like it’s over in a blink, doesn’t it? Whether you spent your Golden Week relaxing, putting in extra time at work, or going on wild adventures, I hope you enjoyed yours to the fullest.

I’d like to share two adventures I had this year– a roadtrip to Fukui, and a bouldering karaoke room!

Let’s start with the roadtrip:

You may remember my post last year about my daytrip to Obama, which is located in Fukui Prefecture. The area has a lot to offer– on top of beautiful nature, it’s famous for dinosaurs, to the point where you’re greeted with statues of them upon arrival at Fukui station in the capital city!

We didn’t run into any dinosaurs this trip, though, as our goal was to drive up along the coastline to visit the famous Tojinbo Cliffs. There are multiple stories about this place, but the one that I was told before the trip was of a priest who committed suicide there. This turned out to be a little inaccurate, as research has revealed that while the main stories are indeed about a priest, he was thrown into the sea instead. The suicide aspect comes from the very unfortunate fact that this is a place where people have, in the past, chosen to end their lives.

The journey began early in the morning from Kyoto Prefecture. We opted to take the winding roads by the coastline, rather than following the highway. It was a gorgeous day out, and the Japan Sea was stunning. We took a relaxing three hours to work our way up to where the cliffs were.Fukui 2018 002 hokojima

Along the route were several places where you could pull over and admire the sea. We did so on several occasions. One such time was near Echizen cape, where a large rock formation named Hokojima sat near the shore. Upon climbing it, we discovered a little shrine at the top of it–along with an even better view of the water. We spent quite a while going up and down the rocks. It was safe, but without railings, climbing back down felt a little rocky!Fukui 2018 003 hokojima

…I’m funny.

Anyway, we piled back into the car and an hour after finding said seaside shrine, made our way to Tojimbo Cliffs proper. Once there, we parked the car and had a look around.

If you want to go anywhere important in Japan, chances are you’re going to have to climb a hill or mountain to see it. You’re also going to have to make your way past souvenir shops galore going up and back down said hill, and this was no exception. We saw several shops selling dinosaur-shaped cookies, cafes offering parfaits with sprinkles on the ice cream (!!), and a tower you could pay to enter and see the cliffs from high up above.

We opted against the latter option, but we did stop inside a cafe for some delicious sauce miso-katsudon. A middle-aged lady was our server, and she was so harried that, upon my ordering an iced tea, she wanted to know if I wanted it hot or iced. I opted for iced.Fukui 2018 012 food

After eating, we beheld the cliffs, which were crawling with people wanting to get the perfect picture. The sea against the cliffs was indeed lovely, but we noticed a hiking path that wound along the shore… all the way to Oshima Island, where a shrine lay in wait. While we were deterred by giant killer hornets part of the hike there, it the path was, for the most part, pleasant. We did see some very sobering signs along the route, however, such as the one that urged us to remember the faces of our families and friends.Fukui 2018 011 remember

When we finished our hike, we gave in to the pressure and bought some souvenirs from the omiyage shops, hopped in the car, and slowly made our way back to Kyoto.

Would I recommend visiting the cliffs? If you’re a fan of the seaside and of legends, then absolutely. It was a sobering trip once we learned more about why this area was so well-known, but it was also quite beautiful.Fukui 2018 010 tojimbo

Would I do the trip in one day again? Probably not without a car. If you’re going by public transportation, it can be done, but it will cost you a pretty penny. From Kyoto Station to Mikuniminato (the nearest train station), you’re looking at spending over 2 hours and 5,200 yen one-way. Then you’d have to get on a bus for an additional hour or so just to make it to the cliffs. If I were staying in Fukui for a weekend, I would definitely consider adding it in to an itinerary. Sharing a rented car with three other people, we only paid roughly 4,000 yen or so each, so we had that much extra to use on food and souvenirs…. and other adventures.Fukui 2018 005 tojimbo

Keep an eye out for my next post about bouldering karaoke. In the meantime, let me know: have you been on any good roadtrips recently? Have you visited any beautiful places with a heavy or tragic past associated with it? Or, on a lighter note, how was your Golden Week?

See you ’round soon!

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