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February 9, 2014 - Ono - Fukui Prefecture
Ono is a small town located in Fukui prefecture which is located roughly 50 minutes from the prefectural capital (ironically called Fukui) by train. The train leaves every 1 to 2 hours via the JR Kuzuryu Line and costs 650 yen one way. Note that the train station is called Echizen Ono and not Ono.
The town itself does not have any major attractions, but is littered with many smaller attractions and the fact that you will probably never see large swarms of tourists here. The train that comes here (this is the station!!) is a single carriage train!!
Ono is said to have the best drinking water in all of Japan, which can be collected from one of the many springs such as the one shown in the picture above. It's located right next to the station and I can say it tastes quite nice. Note that there is no specific tourist information bureau that I could find but the town is well signed in English, even if you don't know what the attractions are.
Oshozu springs is stated as being the nicest water to drink in all of Japan. It's located around 500 meters from the station in the general direction of the castle. Even though this water beats the stuff I get from the tap in Yokohama, I'll let you be the judge if it's the best in Japan.
The Yoshikage Asakura Tomb is around 300 meters from the Oshozu spring. It's nothing special but it does let you at least stretch your legs.
The Uchiyama Samurai Residence is located reasonably close to the tomb and costs 200 Yen to enter. Even though it looks small from the outside, it's reasonably interesting and the buildings are deceptively larger than they look from the outside.
A further 500 meters from the Samurai house is the entrance to the Echizen castle. The castle is around 1KM from here and would take around 15 minutes in better weather. Today, it took me around 25-30 minutes to get to the top with all of the snow.
The castle itself normally costs 200 Yen to enter, but it was closed due to the snow today. It was considered too dangerous to get to the top with all of the snow. Oh well...
Around 500 meters from the bottom of the castle is Teramachi Dori (Street) which is famous for it's temples. It's meant to be one of the more famous areas of Ono, but it did not really do much for me. However, some areas were quite photogenic.
If you were to ask me if it was worth visiting Ono, my answer would be yes and no. It would be no because there is nothing spectacular which I can say you must visit. However, I would also say yes as there are few places that are set up for tourists but are off the main tourist trail. Do note that because of the trains (or lack of them!!) that you'll probably be here for the majority of the day. There is plenty to do here in a day as long as you don't rush, but you should leave reasonably relaxed which is always a good thing.