Marchventures: The Beaches of Kyoto and Fukui

It is raining cats and dogs as I write this. We are nearing April, and I still don’t know how time has passed by this quickly. I appreciate this grim weather because I wouldn’t be able to put pen to paper without it, or in my case, to put my fingertips on the keyboard. I have had a great time this month and embarked on remarkable adventures. Of course, they are “remarkable” by my standards, but they might seem downright dull for more adventurous people!

One of those adventures led me to the beaches of Kyoto and Fukui prefectures—both situated in the north, my favorite direction for beach-hopping. While the Seto Inland Sea is warm and grounding, the Sea of Japan is aloof yet nostalgic—a quality I am hopelessly in love with. I have been to Kyoto on many occasions and mentioned my disdain for overcrowded places like that in my Arashiyama post. 

Yet Kyoto can be so gentle once you visit its less populated parts and show that you are not there to consume the place but genuinely explore it. I bet you know some people who look cold on the outside but can be the sweetest once you get to know them deeply. That’s Kyoto for me. You need to be careful with such places because they can be obstinate if they think you are up to no good and refrain from showing you their clement side.

Fun encounters on Ryuguhama Beach 

That day, I must have been on my best behavior because Kyoto decided to be nice to me and reveal its tenderness. We were driving in Maizuru City but didn’t plan to explore it that day because we wanted to go to Fukui Prefecture. We also don’t usually use highways because they are costly, and we want to explore every nook and cranny of the places we visit. That’s how we came across this spectacular view, so no, I don’t worry about “losing time” when traveling because what I gain in return usually makes up for it. 

Encountering such villages is not uncommon in Japan, but you need to have luck or hear about such places through the grapevine. Takashi goes fishing in Kyoto and Fukui whenever he can and is a local, but even he rarely has such pleasant encounters. And when we find views like this, we deviate from our original plans and spend a couple of hours in a new place instead. You can imagine how much I would suffer if I traveled with a group!

The weather was so pleasant, and almost nobody was on the beach as usual except for another foreigner! He was galloping like a wild horse along the coast in his swimwear, and a Japanese woman was watching him disapprovingly. Two local fishermen were watching him, probably wondering how he managed to swim in such cold water. Unaware (or most likely indifferent) of the eyes on him, he stopped frolicking on the sand and took off his swimwear, and mooned his bum in broad daylight. 

I still don’t know if he genuinely had nowhere else to change or didn’t care about his surroundings. You can imagine how amusing it was for the audience, though. Takashi approached the local fishermen to inquire about the parking lot, and they told us the foreigner had swum for about twenty minutes before he got tired of it. It must have been quite a spectacle for a quiet fishing town! 

On the way back to the parking lot, I saw an older woman and a fisherman drying out something that looked like seaweed. They hung them with clothespins like laundry. I was intrigued by that scene but was too shy to ask them if I could photograph it. I can be adventurous and spontaneous but never fellowly in such situations. I walked back and forth around them but still couldn’t muster the courage to ask! 

Thankfully, Takashi is very sociable and curious (and we complete each other in that sense.) He greeted these locals and told them I had never seen something like this. They were amused by my “urban ignorance” and allowed me to take photos of their paraphernalia. They even gave us some of their delicious dried seaweed, whose taste still lingers in my mouth. It’s too bad I can’t show you the best photos as I accidentally deleted them, but here’s one! 

We need to talk about Fukui 

We headed to Fukui after these fun encounters and arrived in Takahama in the afternoon. I was too hungover with seaweed happiness to notice this, but soon I realized the beaches we visited in Fukui were full of garbage. I love Fukui and the Sea of Japan, but this side of the world is not pretty. The water is pretty clean, as seen in the photos, but littering is a real problem. 

I picked up random garbage and investigated where it came from. I was gutted to find out most of the trash wasn’t even from Japan! As you can see, they are from various coasts in East Asia, dominantly from South Korea, Taiwan, and Russia. I am sure beaches in Kyoto have similar problems since they are in close proximity to Fukui, but littering is more severe in Fukui. 

Nature is sacred to me, and I have never littered once in my entire life, even as a kid. When I see garbage on the streets, I am inclined to pick it up because I can’t stand it. I can’t stand that some people have no conscience and qualms about littering. Why on earth would they do that to nature? Does such a beautiful place deserve this kind of treatment? The problem is not only the “foreign” garbage but also the domestic tourists that go camping on the beaches and leave their garbage behind. 

I walked around sulking for a while and then goofed with Takashi taking random photos of our shadows reflecting from the water. As you have probably guessed… there was not a single person on that vast beach that day! I can’t recall its name since a few beaches exist in Takahama Town. I am not too fond of this place, especially after seeing the littering problem and shopping complex. They built a shopping mall beside the fishing port that stuck out like a sore thumb—gentrification at its finest. 

I am not ashamed of admitting what an idealist I am. I dream about a world where people have fun without having to worry about the cost. I dream about clean beaches, mountains, and rivers where people from all walks of life can feel refreshed. I dream about cities and towns where people can afford to live but also take pride in them. I know we live in times where greed and shallowness rule the world and suffocate dreamers. But behold us, the dreamers, because the world needs people like us for a sustainable future. 

And this concludes my ode to the beaches in Kyoto and Fukui. How was March in your part of the world? 

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  1. Shahbaz Ashraf

    A very comprehensive account of your travel as always! You seem to be a tad too much fond of (lonely) beaches. Maybe the nature opens herself up more in solitude than in company. You have captured beautiful images of the site.
    Littering beaches and other tourist resorts has become a ubiquitous phenomenon and needs special attention to save the environment. Heavy fines must be imposed on the tourists whether local or foreigners who keep scattering garbage wherever they go. People need to be sensitized about this sort of pollution otherwise there will be heaps of litter all around.
    Good to know that you are meticulously conscious of this growing problem.
    As regards your idealist aspect, I equally share your dreams, feelings and emotions. Such dreamers are the salt of the earth in a world full of scum. Keep spreading goodness and light, Bahanur.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bahanur

      Thank you for your wonderful comment, Shahbaz! I also wonder where my curiosity for lonely beaches comes from 😊 And I am glad to hear I am not the only dreamer. The world needs more of us!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Shahbaz Ashraf

        My pleasure! Agree with you that the world needs more dreamers to make this place worth living. We must contribute our share and spread goodness and light. Karma will bring this goodness back to us.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Mike and Kellye Hefner

    I share your ideals, and I enjoyed your post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bahanur

      Thank you for dropping by ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  3. kegarland

    Kyoto is my favorite Japanese city.

    I wonder if the naked man was European? They tend to not care about removing all of their clothes at public beaches.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bahanur

      I wonder the same thing! I do know he’s not from my country since we don’t take off our clothes at public beaches 🤔

      Liked by 1 person

      1. kegarland


        Liked by 1 person

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