Friday, 15 March 2024 18:31

Japan's Newest Shinkansen Route Unveils the Hidden Charms of Fukui

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Japan expands its renowned high-speed rail network with the introduction of a new shinkansen line making the secluded Fukui Prefecture more accessible to explorers. Located approximately 185 miles west of Tokyo, this coastal region, known for its dinosaur discoveries, Zen practices, and rejuvenating hot springs, is now seamlessly connected to the bustling metropolis, thanks to the Hokuriku Shinkansen extension.

A Portal to the Age of Dinosaurs

Among the highlights of the new shinkansen route, Fukui stands out as a prime destination for visitors looking to delve into the region's prehistoric past. The area is a haven for dinosaur enthusiasts, boasting attractions such as lifelike robotic dinosaurs at Fukui Station and the beloved local mascot, a cheerful green dinosaur named Juratic. The Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum in Katsuyama offers a comprehensive exploration of Japan's dinosaur heritage, with nearly 80% of the country's dinosaur fossils found in the region. The museum features detailed exhibits on dinosaur life and extinction, along with life-sized animatronics and interactive fossil digs at the adjacent Katsuyama Dinosaur Park, making it a perfect family destination.

Zen and the Art of Relaxation

Journeying back from Fukui, those intrigued by Zen Buddhism can alight at Eiheijiguchi Station and visit Eiheiji, a temple and monastery established in the 13th century by the legendary Zen master Dogen. Visitors can spend a few hours wandering through the temple's serene buildings or opt for an overnight stay, complete with zazen meditation sessions and traditional vegan Buddhist cuisine. For those seeking relaxation, a trip to Awara offers a traditional Japanese ryokan experience, complete with mineral-rich hot spring baths, yukata gowns, tatami mat rooms, and exquisite kaiseki-ryori meals.

The launch of the new shinkansen line to Fukui opens up a realm of undiscovered Japanese treasures to travelers. From its prehistoric allure to deep spiritual practices and relaxing hot springs, Fukui presents unique experiences that have remained off the beaten path for international tourists. With this new rail connection, the once remote prefecture is now invitingly accessible, promising unforgettable adventures for those eager to explore Japan's lesser-known