A dinner of a local favorite dish, paired with local sake, can be a nice way to finish the day—or just the start to an evening. Many find the most rewarding and memorable parts of travel to be meals and time spent with new people. Fukui offers great food and intimate encounters with the people who live here, as well as relaxation after dark, and outdoor scenery that just might be even more beautiful at night.
Lively Bars and Sophisticated Dining
As the prefecture’s largest city, Fukui City offers plenty of choice for places to enjoy dinner, drinks, and even conversation. There are restaurants and izakaya bars (informal establishments that serve a variety of small dishes and drinks to go with them) to be found near Fukui Station, but the city’s biggest nightlife districts are the Katamachi and Hamamachi neighborhoods, just a few hundred meters to the west.
Katamachi is densely packed with some 450 bars and restaurants, with a lively yet approachable atmosphere. There is tremendous variety here, with many small bars built around all types of themes—many of them are on the second or third floor, so keep an eye out for signs at all levels. For a casual meal, Katamachi is home to Fukui’s first Sauce Katsu-Don restaurant. Across the street is another local landmark: Akiyoshi, which specializes in yakitori, or chicken skewers grilled over charcoal. Unlike many izakaya bars, the friendly atmosphere makes it a popular evening destination for all ages: families with children are a common sight here.
Just across Chuo Odori Street to the south is Hamamachi. Though adjacent to Katamachi, this neighborhood has a very different atmosphere: Hamamachi is known more for sophisticated, high-end restaurants and bars, serving specialties like premium wagyu beef, fresh seafood, or craft sake—and you might even hear traditional geisha entertainment while walking down the street. This part of town is better suited to a relaxed evening, spent savoring a luxurious meal served with local sake. And of course, these two neighborhoods are so close together that an evening’s plans can easily involve both.
Wandering a Quiet Onsen Town
Even after the sun goes down, the hot spring resort town of Awara Onsen, in northern Fukui, is dedicated to relaxation and good times. In the evenings, the peaceful streets echo with the clonk, clonk, clonk of traditional wooden geta sandals, as overnight guests of the inns take a walk around town. The hot spring bath Sentopia Awara is open to the public until 10:00 p.m., too, perfect as a start—or finish—to the evening, even for those not staying overnight.
For dinner and drinks, or just a light bite to eat, Yukemuri Yokocho is a popular destination in Awara Onsen. Located across the street from Awara-Yunomachi Station, this “steam alley” features a collection of small restaurants, each serving a different specialty, such as homemade sausages, ramen, chicken, or even French food. Each of these has just a handful of seats, creating an intimate atmosphere perfect for chatting with the chefs and other customers.
Beautiful Sights to Explore at Night
Unique Ways to Enjoy Parks
Fukui offers magical outdoor light-ups to see all throughout the year. In the north, Maruoka Castle’s centuries-old castle tower and the surrounding park are as a canvas for colorful animated visuals every evening. The daily projection-mapping shows begin at 8:00 and 9:00 p.m., and change seasonally.
Not far away, Yuri-no-Sato Park offers a different style of nighttime lighting. On most evenings, from sunset to 9:30 p.m., the park lights up: the central building is colored with spotlights, and there is an arched tunnel wrapped in lights for visitors to walk through. The park’s signature flower fields are likewise filled with countless lights, which illuminate the park’s roses in spring and lilies in early summer.
Seasonal Scenery after Dark
In Fukui City, spring and autumn are ideal seasons to enjoy the natural scenery, especially at night. In spring, the banks of the Asuwa River are a popular place to enjoy the cherry blossoms, with trees lining a stretch of the river over two kilometers long. At night, much of the riverbank is lit up—and during full bloom, from late March to mid-April, there are stalls selling food and drinks, creating a fun, festival-like atmosphere.
Yokokan Garden, a classic Japanese garden, is known for the deep red of its maples in autumn. In October and November, the garden is lit up during the evenings. The red maple leaves reflect vividly on the surface of the garden’s central pond, especially when lit from below, for an experience that can only be enjoyed at night.