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July 11, 2018 - Hidden Honshu: Awara Onsen
For today, I made my way to Fukui district to visit the last of the 12 original keep castles that I have not visited yet. Maruoka Castle is around a 20 minute drive from Fukui city and costs 450 yen to enter which also includes entrance into two small museums.
Maruoka castle was originally constructed in 1576 and has the oldest known keep in Japan. Due to this, it's a bit smaller than other keeps and the stairs going up the 3 stories are about as steep as you will see in general.
Located next to the main carpark the castle museum is included in the castle entrance fee and includes some interesting and less common original exhibits. Note that photography is not allowed inside.
Across the road is the Letter Museum which is also included in the castle entrance ticket. It's not very accessible or interesting to most people who cannot read to a good standard of Japanese.
The biggest potential tourist trap I just escaped today was Tojinbo Cliff which is also home to many restaurants. There are also some nice walks here as well which will differ in interest levels depending on the person.
Located around 2 kilometers from Tojinbo cliff is Oshima island which is also home to a shrine and some nice walks. It takes around 30-50 minutes to walk around the island but note that there are no facilities on the island itself.
My last stop for the day was Awara Onsen which is not home to any major attractions at all. I was a bit disappointed when I got to this town until a bit later in the day.
When I booked my current hotel I originally forgot why I chose it - to have a nice meal and experience some nice onsens. There may be nothing to do in Awara Onsen but sometimes staying at a nice hotel is the actual journey itself. As a result, I ended up enjoying today much more than expected. For tomorrow, I'll be visiting Mikuni and some other locations around Fukui prefecture.