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Travel Trade & Media

One-day Trip in Manazuru

by Sirikaan Prachumyaat

Relax at Arai Castle Ruins Park

After taking a train from Tokyo for about two hours, stretch your legs and enjoy the fresh air at Arai Castle Ruins Park. The park is around a five-minute walk from JR Manazuru Station, and during your journey, you can enjoy elevated, panoramic views of Manazuru City.

Arai Castle Ruins Park is located on the ruins of Arai Sanetsugu’s castle. Sanetsugu was a supporter and samurai for Minamoto no Yoshiie, a famous samurai from the Minamoto clan during the Gosannen War in 1083.

Today, Arai Castle Ruins Park is a peaceful place to relax. The garden is lined with many different tree species and surrounded by bamboo—filling the area with the spirit of Japan, which you can feel as soon as you enter. During spring, cherry blossoms bloom all over the garden, and each year the city holds a Sakura Festival where it illuminates the trees at night—giving the place a magical atmosphere.

No matter what season, come take a break at this park and immerse yourself in the area’s nature and history.

Pray for blessings at Kibune Shrine

After taking a walk to get some fresh air, stop by Kibune Shrine to pray and pay your respects.

Kibune Shrine sits on a hill of greenery overlooking Manazuru Harbor and has protected villagers and fishermen for thousands of years. Kibune Shrine at Manazuru is said to have been founded in the year 889 and is the enshrinement of the god Okuninushi. Okuninushi is the god of good luck and protects the land of Japan, bringing prosperity and fertility. At this shrine you can pray for resolutions to your troubles, business success and prosperity, and other blessings.

Every July 27 and 28, the shrine holds its annual "Kibune" festival, which is designated as an Important Intangible Folk Cultural Property. This festival is also considered to be one of the three largest boat festivals in Japan.

Getting to the shrine is not difficult at all. Just take the bus from JR Manazuru Station bound for Yamashitahama (bus number 13 or 15) for about 10 minutes, and get off at the Miyamae stop, which is right at the entrance of the shrine. The bus stop’s close proximity makes visiting the shrine very easy and convenient. So why not stop by and admire this cultural beauty?

Lunch with a view of the sea—fresh seafood restaurant, Unisei

After stopping by Kibune shrine, hop back on the same bus at the Miyamae stop bound for Yamashitahama (bus number 13 or 15), and get off at the last stop. Walk to the opposite side of the road to reach the fresh and delicious seafood restaurant, Unisei.

Unisei is a long-established seafood restaurant located next to the ocean. The restaurant’s interior is built in the style of a traditional two-story Japanese house—cozy, but not too small. The walls are lined with photographs of famous people who have visited the restaurant, including the previous Emperor Akihito. The restaurant strives to provide family-like warmth to all guests by serving fresh home cooked flavors presented in a luxurious manner, like a meal at a five-star hotel.

First, the restaurant staff will lead you to your table. On the second floor, you can either be seated in a private room or at a low table in an open-floor tatami area. Here, you can order your food, sip hot tea, and admire the scenery from the window as you wait for your meal. We recommend that you sit on the second floor if you want to see the ocean.

The restaurant's menu has numerous set meals, which are divided into course sets for 1-2 people or larger sets and courses, which are convenient for groups. For the larger sets you can even order sushi that is served on a boat and beautifully decorated. If you’re afraid that you won’t be able to finish the entire course meal, you can order a la carte as well. You should definitely stop by at Unisei for the freshest seafood and one of the best servings of uni (sea urchin).

After eating to your heart’s content, cross back over the road and enjoy the sea breeze while walking and watching the shrimp, clams, crabs and fish swimming in the clear shallow waters before taking the bus back to the station.

Manazuru really is a day trip that has everything you need from nature and history to culture and delicious food!


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