1. The second day of our journey saw us set out south for Fukui Prefecture.

    After a brief stop at the scenic cliffs of Tojimbo, we were headed for Maruoka Castle, a smaller castle with an original donjon that survived from the Sengoku Period. As its also listed in Japan’s Top 100 Castles there was no way we could have passed it, as we have been collecting castle stamps since 2012.

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    Maruoka Castle was located along a strategically important road, the Hokurikudou, the highway connecting Kaga Province with Echizen. It is one of only twelve castles that haven’t been demolished by the Meiji government.

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    Not far away from Maruoka is Eiheiji (永平寺), one of the two main temples of the Soto School of Zen Buddhism. Comprising over 70 buildings, it’s a training centre for some 200 monks and nuns as well as a popular tourist destination with countless shops and restaurants catering to the visitors. A famous local dish is “Zen tofu”, tofu served with sweetened miso.

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    We spent the night in Maizuru, a sleepy coastal town in Kyoto Prefecture after having indulged in an evening of fresh oysters, sashimi, and local sake.

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