Family-friendly Fun in Fukui

Family-friendly Fun in Fukui

Recommended Length: 3 Days

Fukui has exciting museums and outdoor destinations that make it ideal for a family trip. Create enduring memories on this three-day journey as you experience a vast amusement park, discover dinosaur fossils, observe marine life, and visit beautiful lakes and sandy beaches.

Fukui City is a convenient starting point, less than two hours from Kyoto or Osaka by JR Thunderbird Express - changing for the Hokuriku Shinkansen at Tsuruga - and less than three hours from Tokyo by Hokuriku Shinkansen. For travel within Fukui, a rental car offers the most flexibility and freedom, especially when traveling with children.


Day 1: Aquarium and amusement park adventures

The Echizen Matsushima Aquarium in Sakai is situated next to the sea and provides exciting opportunities to meet aquatic life. Admire tanks of animals from colorful jellyfish and deadly piranhas to massive sunfish and adorable axolotls. You can observe penguin walks, feed sea turtles, and enter a shallow saltwater pool to feed fish.

From the aquarium it is a short drive to Shibamasa World , an amusement park resort with attractions including a waterpark, roller coasters, golf courses, camping spaces, and a go-karting track. Younger children will have a great time at the Kids Paradise area, which has a jungle gym, mazes, a merry-go-round, and more. The grounds of Shibamasa World also include lawns, where you can rent frisbees, soccer balls, and other recreational equipment.

Stay overnight in Katsuyama or Fukui City at a traditional ryokan or a modern hotel. Some accommodations have dinosaur-themed rooms and spaces that will spark any child’s imagination.


Day 2: Fearsome fossils and crustacean curiosities

The Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum is one of the world’s leading dinosaur museums. It is located in Katsuyama, near a major dinosaur fossil excavation site. The site is the largest in Japan both in terms of size and number of fossils found, and entirely new species of dinosaurs such as the Fukuiraptor have been discovered there.

The expansive museum covers an area of around 4,500 square meters and has full-scale dinosaur skeletons and animatronics, as well as exhibits on geology and the history of life on Earth. Educational films about dinosaurs are screened in the auditorium on the third-floor. Take the museum bus to an actual dig site, where you can learn about the excavation process, dig for fossils, and use digital tools to investigate dinosaur remains.

Near the museum is Katsuyama Dino Park , a forest with dozens of life-size dinosaur models along a 460-meter walking course. The forest is split into themed zones such as “Valley of Attacks,” and “King of the Sky.” Secondary attractions include the Giant Insects Exploration Tour, where you can ride in a safari car to see giant-sized models of ladybugs, beetles, ants, and other insects. Note that the Dino Park is closed during the winter.

For another distinctive museum experience, explore the fascinating world of crustaceans at the Echizengani Museum on the Echizen coast, about an hour’s drive from Fukui City. The museum building is designed to resemble the rounded body of a crab. Its interactive exhibits offer fascinating insights into the Echizen crab and the other crustacean species that inhabit the coastal area, as well as their aquatic environment, and Fukui’s thriving fishing industry.

Experience an overnight stay in a log house, cabin, treehouse, or tree tent at Tree Picnic Adventure Ikeda , where you can immerse yourself in the forest and enjoy unobstructed night skies.


Day 3: Lakeside leisure and beachside bliss

Make your way south to Wakasa and relax at Rainbow Line Summit Park , which affords a picturesque view of the Mikatagoko , a series of connected lakes beside the seashore. The park is accessible by cable car and has unmatched views of the lakes and the coastal area. Enjoy the open-air footbaths, cafes, terraces, and rose gardens—all of which provide great photo locations. Take part in kawarakenage, where you inscribe a wish on a clay tile, then throw it off the mountain.

After enjoying the scenery from above, take a sightseeing boat tour with Wakasa Lake Cruise to explore the lakes from the water. This 40-minute excursion takes passengers around Lake Suigetsu and Lake Suga, two of the main lakes.

Wind down your trip by visiting one of Takahama’s many beaches. Wakasa Wada Beach is one of the most popular. It became Asia’s first certified Blue Flag beach in 2016, an accreditation of safety, cleanliness, and sustainable practices. With barbecue areas, equipment rental shops, and accessible showers, the beach has everything you need to enjoy the sand and waves.

Please note that these beach facilities are only open during the summer. You can join beach cleanup activities on the fourth Sunday of every month if you want to participate in environmental action with your family.

Onward Travels

Spend more time exploring Takahama’s coastline at Shiroyama Beach , a quiet beach known for its sunset scenery, or Nabae Beach which is popular with families for its gentle waves. Alternatively, head north to Echizen and explore its crafts through hands-on workshops.