Getting There

Echizen is more fortunate than most bike routes, as the jumping-off point, Tsuruga, is a major station on the JR Hokuriku Honsen (the main line going up the Japan Sea coast). You can jump on a train at 7 a.m. in Osaka (assuming you can jump that early in the morning) and be pedaling up the coast before nine. "L" tokkyu (limited express) trains leave from JR Osaka about every half-hour; the fare to Tsuruga (including the tokkyu charge) is 4410 yen from Osaka and 3,220 yen from Kyoto. From Tokyo, the best way is probably to take a shinkansen to Maibara just past Nagoya and then take a local (50 minutes) or tokkyu (30 minutes) to Tsuruga. Note that there are also overnight kyuko and tokkyu trains that leave from Ueno; most go to Kanazawa, where you can disembark and do the extended trip discussed under Alternatives or take another tokkyu to Tsuruga (1 1/2 hours).


Minshuku are scattered along virtually the entire stretch of coastline (except on the toll road). The largest concentration is probably to be found in a place called Takasu, just before Tojimbo. Although the beach could be cleaner and the refinery visible in the distance slightly reduces the scenic values, this is still a very nice place to overnight; the picture with the Echizen title on the title page shows part of the beach at Takasu. One of the minshuku, Yamane-ya (telephone 0776-86-1727) is open year-round. Note that the other minshuku are only open during the summer, which is rather narrowly defined as after the rainy season (tsuyu) in June and before autumn (usually the beginning of September).

There is also a kokumin shukusha, Takasu-so (telephone 0776-86-1111) just before the town of Takasu proper; though it is on a hill and far from the water, it is also very good value.

If you really want to save money, there's a campground as you leave the town proper from the north end of the beach.


Though there are few sights per se, the scenic coastline, clear water and quiet little fishing villages more than make up for any lack of tourist destinations. The most spectacular sight is undoubtedly the huge arch above the road about halfway up the coast. The impressive-looking monument next to it is actually contains the lyrics to "Echizen Bojo," a popular song that presumably immortalized the area in the popular imagination, sung by famous local-born "enka" singer Itsuki Hiroshi.

There are numerous waterfalls along the way, usually where you least expect to see them. The tallest is the 18-meter-high Ashimi-taki (also known as Taromi-taki).

A bit further on, there is an interesting "kannon" shrine inside a cave, appropriately called the Tamagawa Dokutsu Kannon (Tamagawa Cave Kannon"). Folk beliefs hold that the 11-faced statue inside answers prayers for calm waters in the nearby sea.

The area's only bona-fide tourist mecca is Tojimbo, a series of craggy rock cliffs dropping precipitously off into the ocean. Famous as a spot for suicides, it has been turned into a major tourist trap (for sightseers, not participants). Early morning is your best bet if you want to see it relatively peaceful circumstances; at other times, the crowds and the incessant loudspeaker announcements can get pretty annoying. Actually, the shoreline just before Tojimbo has rock cliffs that are almost as spectacular; if you can’t get to Tojimbo before the crowds, you may want to play tourist here rather than with the tour groups at Tojimbo.

Getting Away

Tojimbo marks the end of the distinctive craggy shoreline scenery of Echizen. From there, the road continues north, turning inland for around 25 kilometers through farm country before returning to the coast. Though this route is not without points of interest (such as the huge, tacky gold kannon statue at Kaga, a hot springs resort near the coast), you might do better to save time and effort by pedaling to Awara Onsen station (5 kilometers from the main highway) and heading home. For other options, see the Alternatives page.

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