Bountiful Nature in Ikeda

Bountiful Nature in Ikeda

Recommended Length: 2 Days

Slow down, switch off, and reconnect with nature in Ikeda, a green haven deep in the mountains of eastern Fukui Prefecture. Stroll through forests, relax in natural hot springs, and dine on fresh local produce on a break from a busy sightseeing itinerary.


Day 1: Discover the charms of rural life

You can reach Ikeda in just under an hour by bus from Takefu Station in Echizen. By car, it takes around 30 minutes from Echizen or 45 minutes from Fukui.

Around 92% of Ikeda is covered in forest. Kibo no Mori (“Forest of Hope”) is a local organization that manages and maintains the forests to sustain them for future generations. Its WoodLABO is a woodworking space that was created to teach the community about the importance of nature through woodwork. They offer beginner courses suitable for all ages to make spoons, cutting boards, clocks, and other wooden items. It’s a great way to appreciate the work that goes into crafting these simple items that we use every day

Bask in the pleasures of rural living with a stay at Hotel Furafu. The hotel is a kominka, or traditional country house, built in the Meiji era (1868–1912). It has been renovated into an elegant modern accommodation while keeping many of its charming traditional features including tatami rooms and a sunken hearth to gather around. Large windows throughout the house provide expansive views of the surrounding fields, forests, and mountains.

The house, made with local pine and Japanese zelkova wood, is filled with cozy spaces where you can savor the unhurried passing of time in the countryside. Have a cup of tea on the sunny, south-facing porch, curl up with a book and a glass of wine in the living room, or, luxuriate in the indoor jacuzzi at night with views of the starry skies.

Hotel Furafu accommodates only one group of up to eight people per stay, so you can enjoy the rustic ambiance in privacy. Locally sourced meat and seasonal vegetables can be provided for cooking hotpot or barbecuing. You can also rent electric bicycles or arrange a walking tour to explore the surrounding area with a local guide.


Day 2: Adventures in the great outdoors

Start your second day in Ikeda with an earthing tour . Earthing refers to the practice of physically connecting with the land by placing your bare feet or hands on the ground. It is believed to discharge static electricity stored in your body and improve your blood circulation. You will be guided along the Asuwa River with opportunities to immerse yourself in nature, from wading in the water to simply lying down on the smooth rocks on the banks to unwind.
Between earthing sessions, your guide will help you forage for wild plants, which will be prepared as part of a light lunch including rice, miso soup, and pickles.

After the tour, you can further explore Ikeda through the many forest and walking trails that run through the town. The 44-meter-long Kazura Bridge is a suspension bridge made of vines that spans the Asuwa River. The views it affords of the river and surrounding forest are beautiful.

Near the Bridge, Watermill Square presents a bucolic scene with a wooden waterwheel and spacious gardens around a carp pond. In spring, the gardens bloom with pink rhododendron and gyoiko cherry trees, known for blossoms with a greenish tinge.

Gain a new perspective on Ikeda’s landscape through Tree Picnic Adventure’s outdoor recreation activities. Glide above the treetops on a zipline, tackle obstacle courses in the Adventure Park, or rediscover the simple joy of climbing a tree, with safety equipment. There are also rafting tours to explore the shallow waters of the Asuwa River. Tree Picnic Adventure has cabin, cottage, and tent accommodations so you can enjoy an immersive overnight nature experience barbecuing, stargazing, or simply listening to the sounds of the forest.

Onward Travels

After a restorative nature getaway in Ikeda, return to Takefu Station in Echizen by bus and explore other parts of Fukui from there. If driving, you can also continue onto the prefectures of Gifu or Shiga via Route 417.