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The Wakasa Kaido (highway) used to connect Kyoto, the old capital of Japan, with the Wakasa Bay where fresh fish were abundant. The Wakasa Kaido was also called the Mackerel Highway, because people in Kyoto particularly liked the mackerel from the Wakasa Bay and a large amount of it was carried on this highway. Thriving as an outpost on the Mackerel Highway is Kumagawa-juku. During its golden age, the outpost flourished containing more than 200 houses, but the highway fell into disuse and ruin over time. The townscape, developed from the Edo to the Showa period, has been kept untouched and was designated as a Preservation District for Groups of Traditional Buildings. Nowadays, you can enjoy a slow walk in the sightseeing area.
- Kumagawa, Wakasa, Mikatakaminaka-gun, Fukui
- Contact No.
- Takes 10 minutes by a JR Wakae Line bus from JR Kaminaka Station. Get off at the Wakasa Kumagawa stop.
- Official Website
- Time Required
- 2.5 hours - half a day
- Other Information
- In some facilities, additional charges may apply.
※ Some information is displayed in Japanese and machine-translated English, which may not be accurate.
For the latest information, please check the official website for each spot.
Kumagawa Guard Station
In the Kumagawa outpost, a guard station, where a passenger’s hand baggage was checked and taxes were collected, was rebuilt in the place where it used to stand. Inside the guard station, you can see exhibitions, such as models of government officials keeping a lookout, a bow and arrow that the officials used and weapons like guns.
Old House of Henmi Kanbei
The old house of Henmi Kanbei was the home of Henmi Kanbei, the first village mayor of the Kumagawa village, and was built in the latter half of the 17th century. You can take a tour to the main house which was a sake brewery and the library storehouse where documents are kept. In addition, the inner house has been renovated into a modern style and a Japanese-style room on the second floor is open for tourists as an accommodation (the inner house is open to the public mainly on Saturdays, Sundays and the National Holidays).
Wakasa Mackerel Highway Kumagawa-juku Archives
The Wakasa Mackerel Highway Kumagawa-juku Archirves was originally built as the village office in 1940 and now it is reused for exhibitions of historical documents. On the first floor, as is common in a highway street, you can see a jinrikisha (a hand-pulled rickshaw) and a model of people carrying the mackerel. On the second floor, you can find equipment used to manufacture a local specialty Kumagawa Kuzu (Kumagawa pudding-like arrowroot cakes).
Local Gourmet at the Roadside Station
A roadside station named the Wakasa Kumagawa-juku is located in the entrance of the Kumagawa-juku. The facility is fully equipped with places to rest and a restaurant. In an inner restaurant, Shikisai-kan, you can eat mackerel sushi, a Kumagawa-juku specialty. The mackerel, for which the local highway was named, has great meat and a distinctively pleasant texture in your mouth.