Eiheiji (永平寺町) is a sprawling town along the Kuzuryu River between Fukui, Maruoka and Katsuyama. The area named Matsuoka is home to the second campus of the Fukui Prefectural University and Fukui Medical School.
Eiheiji’s main attraction is Eiheiji Temple, which draws many Japanese and international visitors. Eiheiji is beautiful, quiet town with easy access to Fukui City. It is also conveniently located for outdoor sports opportunities (especially in winter) in Katsuyama and Ono.
Getting Here and Away
Although public transportation in the suburbs of Fukui tend to be inconvenient, Eiheiji has access to the Echizen- Tetsudo train line. The line runs from Fukui City to Katsuyama, with stops at Eiheiji Temple, Kamishihi Junior High, Eiheiji Junior High, Katsuyama Hokubu Junior High and one in the former Matsuoka (松岡) area. The fare from Eiheiji to Fukui City ranges from ¥440-¥700 and the trip takes 20-40 minutes. There is one-hour parking at some stations. Some places have large parking lots and you can get away with parking overnight there. There is also a bus service to Fukui City from the University of Fukui Hospital for about ¥600.
Open 10am to 7pm and closed on Wednesdays. It contains a Fukui Bank ATM, drug store and home store.
100 Yen Shop
Located on Route 416, just past Tasty Coffee shop on the left as you head towards Katsuyama.
Genky Drug Store
Across the street from the 100 Yen Shop.
A little gift store on the way to Yoshino Village (Eiheiji and Kamishihi Area) that has mochi, rice snacks and other traditional Japanese souvenirs.
Eihieji Kamishihi Area
Genky Drug Store
There is a Genky store right by Eiheiji Junior High going towards Fukui on 416.
A small supermarket on Route 416 across the street from Eiheiji Junior High School.
The last supermarket before Katsuyama. It’s small, but it has most essentials and the local specialties of garlic marinade and Eiheiji tofu. Sometimes carries fresh, cheap local produce.
A small, traditional style sake shop located on 416 on the left as you approach Meito from Fukui.
Located on the left side of 416 going toward Fukui from Kamishihi. It’s better to shop early, as most items are sold by the afternoon.
Banks and Post Offices
There are two Fukui Bank offices in this area. Open from 9am to 3pm, Monday to Friday. One is across the street from the University Hospital/Medical School and one is across the street from Lucky. The ATMs are open 9am to 7pm on weekdays, and 9am to 5pm on the weekend.
The main post office is next to the Eiheiji Town Office. Open from 9am to 5pm. There is also a smaller Post Office located near Fukui Bank, next to the Medical School. Open from 9am to 3:30pm.
Eiheiji Kamishihi Area
There are Fukui Bank branches on Route 416 in Eiheiji, across the street from Marue, and in Kamishihi- turn right where the road forks at Meito. There are also two post offices on 416- Kamishihi’s is next to the bank and Eiheiji’s bank is on 416 past Marue and the turn off for Eiheiji temple.
The public gym in the Matsuoka area is pay as you go, and costs about 500 yen.
BIKING AND RUNNING
One nice path runs along the Kuzuryu River leading to northern Fukui City. Apart from cars on small roads, running anywhere is generally safe.
Situated next to Matsuoka JHS, the courts are for public use. 200 yen allows you to play tennis and receive advice from the coach on staff. They may also have rackets for use.
A Chinese/ramen/yakiniku restaurant next to Lucky’s supermarket. It’s a little pricey, but tasty!
Across the street from Lucky, it’s a small, typical yakiniku place.
The food is great but expensive, and the people are amazingly friendly. It’s in between Fukui University and Sunny Side Restaurant.
Specializes in cakes but also has a lunch menu.
A sushi shop in the small plaza in front of the Medical School.
Also in the small plaza, it’s geared to the university community and has a ‘gourmet’ mix of Western and Japanese style food.
Take-out yakis of various sorts.
There is a fancy yakiniku restaurant near Matsuoka station, on your left passing Lucky’s in a back street area.
There is a branch located on 416 just past Eiheiji Junior High heading toward Fukui. It’s across the street and one block down from Genky.
Just as you arrive in Matsuoka from Fukui, there is a coffee shop called Tasty. The Master, Sakashita, is an interesting guy with excellent English and a great record collection. (NOTE: Be cautious that he doesn’t use you for English lessons- possibly under the premise of “meeting friends”.)
This is a rather famous sake brewery, supported by the many rice fields in town. Rumor has it, the Emperor likes this stuff. It’s on the same street as Matsuoka Elementary School, next to a car shop.
THE GREEN CENTER (PARK)
Technically in Maruoka, it’s closer to Matsuoka (Eiheiji). It has an ecological center to study nature in Fukui, a solarium for tropical plants, fields for Frisbee/picnics, a small Amphitheatre,a cherry blossom display area, a pond with boats and a mini water park for kids. It’s a very fun place for friends and family – and it’s free. It’s on the way to Fukui University Hospital from the back roads off Route 17.
Well-known for its sweet onions – a Fukui delicacy.
They meet every weekend in the back parking lot of Fukui University. They have table tops, ramps, etc. They’re a friendly bunch. BMX bikers and in-line skaters are welcome, too.
Eiheiji Kamashishi Area
The head temple of the Soto sect of Zen Buddhism. It was founded by Dogen Zenji as a training hall in 1244, during the Kamakura Period. It is said to be one of the most important Zen centers in the world, and there are more than 70 buildings in the compound. It’s open from 5am to 5pm. Admission is ¥500.
A one night stay costs ¥8000 which includes a bath, dinner and evening meditation (called zazen) on the first day, and an early start (3:30am), a zazen session, morning service, guided tour and breakfast on the second day.
Participants of the more demanding multiple night lay practice program follow most of the monks’ daily routine for typically three nights and four days at ¥3000/night.
Applications for overnight stays should be made well in advance. For details, please see: http://www.sotozen-net.or.jp/kokusai/list/eiheiji.htm
(NOTE: Eiheiji Junior High 2nd year students do a school trip overnight to Eiheiji Temple for ¥2500. The ALT visiting this school may be able to arrange their schedule in order to join in on this experience.)
There are a lot of restaurants on the road to the temple specializing in tofu (with various dishes made from tofu), soba, and “goma dofu,” a kind of tofu made from sesame seeds. These restaurants tend to close early.
Smaller and less visited, Kippoji is where Dogen-zenji practiced before founding Eiheiji. It can be reached by car taking Route 416. Take the right fork of the road at Meito and turn right onto a smaller road after you pass Echizen Takehara train station but before the road turns left over the green bridge for Katsuyama. 0776-64-2536
Local groups make rafts to see whose can stay afloat the longest. It’s held in May.
MEDICAL PREFECTURAL UNIVERSITY FESTIVAL
Also held in May.
In early October, it’s held on the mountain behind the elementary school. There are live dances, taiko performances, festival foods and more.
EIHEIJI KAMISHIHI AREA
KAMISHIHI SUMMER FESTIVAL
Held in mid-August, it features food, contests, and fireworks over the Kuzuryu river.
Lanterns are floated down the river in the evening by Eiheiji priests for Obon in late August. Go on 416 past Marue and the turn off for Eiheiji temple.