若狭小浜について(English version.)


The Wakasa Bay is one of the most scenic stretches of coastin Japan. The peaceful bay is surrounded by inlets and cliffs on one side and a stretch of mountains on the other. There are manybeautiful sites along the Wakasa Bay. but more importantly, there are rnany National treasures, designated by the Government,tucked away within the mountains of this secluded area.
Wakasa is a very old district. The Wakasa area was founded at the sarne time as Nara and the two cities share a great deal of history. During the Nara period (710-794) many Shingon or eso teric Buddhist temples were established in Wakasa. The images
in these temples, many of which are National treasures survived quite well through the years because the Wakasa people valued therm greatly. Historically, Wakasa people have been known to have strong religious beliefs. They protected their temples from
fire and war, they even protected their temples before their own houses!
The route from Wakasa to Kyoto along Lake Biwa has been used since the Nara period for taking fish and salt to Nara. The route developed into a larger trading district when Obama become an important city in the 1600's. Under the feudal lord Sakai, an underlord to leyasu Tokugawa, Obama and the Wakasa area flourished as a port city. ln 1869, the Meijj government
established the Wakasa area as part of the Fukui prefecture.
Today Wakasa is a quiet place surrounded by nature. Its
curious temples, serene coastline and wealth of history are sure to inspire and enchant.


The oldest approach to Wakasa is on the Saba Kaido or
Mackerel Road. This route was heavily traveled by merchants bringing fish and salt from the ocean ports of Wakasa to Nara and later to Kyoto.
Today, you can take the JR Kosei Line frorn Kyoto that spans the length of Lake Biwa. At Omi lrnazu change to the JR bus headed for Obama. Another approach is via Tsuruga in Fukui prefecture or Maizuru in Kyoto prefecture. The train that runs between these two cities is called the &quatObama line&quat.
Traveling to major attractions can be done by train or bus, but a car can be convenient for exploring the ocean side peninsular and mountain regions.

The Name Wakasa
The name Wakasa has two different meanings, according to local stories. Thefirst meaning cornes from a Korean word. Since the Koreans often used this area as a port for their travels to Japan or China, they often referred to it as the "crossroads" or Wakasa in Korean. This is one derivation of the name.
The second story has another theory. ln ancient times the ruler of Wakasa, Kashi Wade no Omi, went to an lmperial party in Nara. All of the rulers were drinking sake together on a riverboat. Suddenly, cherry blossom petals fell into Kashi Wade no Omi's sake cup. The Emperor was quite astonished that this had happened because it was fall, not spring. The Emperor told Kashi Wade no Omi that because of this occurrence he must change his narne. Wakasakura, the Emperor said, symbolized &quatWake&quat or youth because the blossorns fell very early in the year and "sakura", of course, for the cherry blossoms.

Statues of Jizo,Tentokuii Temple


One, of the charms of Wakasa Bay is that despite the fact that it is a large area, the JR trains and buses make it easy to reach most of the interesting sites. ln addition, rental bicycles are available in front of Obama and East Obama stations.
A short bus tour of the temples that surround Obama is also available, with two departures daily from March to November from Obama station. These tours, however are only offered in Japanese.
Bus lines that are convenient from Obama station are the Natasho line, the Omi lmazu line, the Nishizu line and he Fukutetsu bus-Mikata line.



There are dozens of ryokan,minsyuku and hotels from which to choose.Prices very,depending on the type of accommodation, but regardless of where one says, one will discover the warm hospitality of Wakasa.
Many outstanding traditional Japanese inns can be found through out the area. Here guests can enjoy the best of Wakasa's regional cuisine, skillfully prepared, while also relaxing in an atmosphere of elegance.
Located next door is an inexpensive Kokurnin Shukusha (People's Lodge). For a list of ryokan, minshuku and hotels please contact the Tourist lnformation Center Obama, (0770) 53-1111.


ln many caces it is quicker to take a taxi sincethe walking distances are quite far.There are also fishing equipment rental services available.Ask at the Obama station for information on rental boats,trips and prices.Please check the information center at the Obama station for walking maps and other infomation in English.
The Wakasa Bay has been known for its fresh fish since early Japaneshistory and the beghnings of the Saba Kaido or Mackerel Road. The following dishes are very popular in Wakasa.
The Wakasa bay is home to many long traditions that have been passd down from generation to generation. One of the oldest is the carvincl of agate. A Korean tribe, called Wani, brought this skill to Wakasa in the 8th century. At that time the Wani tribe worshipped the agate and built the Hiko Hime shrine to honor it. Today. rings, necklaces. and other accessories are made and sold in Obama.
Perhaps the most famous craft in Wakasa is the lacquerware.

Narezushi A kind of sushi seasoned by fermented mackerel instead of vinegar. This sushi is probably a result of the Mackerel Road trade.
WakasaKareI This is a very thin flat fish. The fish are hung outsidetb dry for many days.
Blow Fish Very popular, yet expensive. Takahama is knowvn for its blow fish.
Sasazuke A type of sushi made from fillets of sea bream pickled with
Isaza A small transparent fish. lt is caught in the rivers in spring and
usually eaten arive.
Jinenjo Soba Natasho, a mountain
ous area in Wakasa, makes a very interesthg kind of soba or buck wheat noodles. The soba is called Jinenjo Soba or soba made from sweet potatoes. This type of soba is typical of this region. The people of Natasho are very proud of this soba.
Kuzurnanju A starch cake made with bean jam filling. You can see it being made in the summer.
Decchiyokan A sweet,soft jelly made of azuki beans.
Kumagawa Kuzu A starch cake that is made from the arrow
root grown in the moun tains around Kumag awa.

Wakasa lacquerware is distinct frorn others because it is colordipped any where from eight to one hundred times. The different methods used for grinding the chopsticks determine the pattern and design. Mother of Pearl and small pieces of egg shell are often used in the designs. Houses and shops line the streets in the Nishizu area of Obama. where the lacquerware is carefully produced one phase at a tirne. Obama is world's largest producer of Iacquer chopsticks. These chopsticks are rich in color andhave a wide variety of designs.

Sueno pottery, which can be found in the Kaminaka area today.had been produced in Wakasa since the 8th century. lt is recog nized for its earth toned colors and rustic appearance.

Washi or Japanese paper is another product with many uses. Today. Wakasa washi is used for making umbrella's, Japanese paper dolls. and paper for sliding doors. Wakasa washi is known for its strength and durability.
The deep color and interesting designs on Wakasa's roof tiles make them very popular for indoor ornamental decoration. Their high quality clay keeps from breaking in the cold winter snow so they are highly prized.


The Wakasa area is the perfect place to turn a day ofvisiting temples into a beach vacation. Spend the night by the ocean at a minshuku and sample some of Wakasa's culinary delights. Visit Seiwa Chopstick Factory where you can try your hand at making chopsticks from Wakasa lacquer, an experience not to be missed. Take the boat from Fisherman's Wharf to Sotomo and see the cliffs and
waterfalls there. Visit the Wakasa History Museum and make paper at Wakasa Washi no le which is across the street. Plan a fishing trip and spend the day on a small deserted island. Below is a map and diagram showing the major attractions of the Wakasa Bay.

lf you are interested in tryng your hand at these traditional crafts please visit the shops.
Seiwa Make your owm chop sticks. The store itsetf sells ovef 300 dlflerent types. A 5 minute walk from East Obama staition on the way to Jinguji and Mantokujj. Opell every day frorn 9:00-5:0. (0770) 56 -0884.

Tsukamoto Mingei Center. Make you own lacquer dar urna The fee is \500. From mama station take the JR bus headed to Nishizu. Get off at the. Fukutani bus stop.
Open everyday frorn 8:00-7: 00. (0770) 52-2590.

Wakasa Washi no le Make your own Japanese paper. The fee is \500. A IO minute
walk from the Wakasa History Museum. For over 10 people please make reservations.Open everyday from 9:00-6:00. (0770) 56-0363,
Suebo Sosakukan. Make your own Sueno pottery. Take the Fukutetsu bus frorn the
Kaminaka station. Get off at the Sueno bus atop. The days and hours vary so please call in advance. (0776) 82-0594,

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