Need a weekend getaway? Come and live the good life down in Obama! Make your own chopsticks and paper, visit the temples, take part in the o-mizu okuri fire festival and get holes burnt in your coat. There's all this and more.
GETTING THERE AND AWAY
Take the JR Obama Line from Tsuruga. Get off at Obama station and that's it! You are in the heart of the town.
Take Route 27 south from Tsuruga. After about 45 minutes, you should be in Obama. It's after driving through Mihama, Mikata and Kaminaka.
JR OBAMA STATION
Trains and buses leave from here but the buses are very confusing so don't count on them. On the plus side, the town is not huge so you can walk to most of the fun places in about 20 - 30 mins (that is in the city).
Business hours from 9am-3pm, but ATMs are open from 8am-9pm Bank ATM's are in Japanese only(alternatively of course there is the post office ATM's to use which i think stay open to later These ATM's can also be displayed in English). An important point to note however is, if you use the ATM's after 5pm you will be charged an additional fee.
OBAMA PUBLIC HOSPITAL (Byouin)
Take your insurance card with you, and a few good books. Surprisingly the service here is not too bad. If you do need to go, you will have to make an appointment unless you are taken in for an accident. For normal hospital needs things it pays to get in early and make your appointment or you will find yourself waiting a long time.
For all those little emergencies!
You may not think you'll need it, but wait for the rainy season!! There are several of these in the town, the best and newest is next to the Lawson's combini near Ayaha dio
OBAMA AND PREFECTURAL LIBRARIES
English newspapers and a few English books.
OBAMA SHOPPING CENTRE
Includes a MaMa Store, film processing, dry cleaning, chemist and a 100 Yen store upstairs.
A great store to go to for hardware, home furnishings, etc. If you make a point card here it is easy to tally up points and get discounts. Many things for your apartment can be found here particularly if you do not want to go out to Plant 2 Super center (see below).
PLANT 2 SUPER CENTER
Like a Warehouse, Target, Wal Mart or whatever part of the world you come from. This is accessible by train providing you are willing to walk the 20 minutes from Kaminaka station. It is a huge shopping center where you can get almost anything you need. If you have a car it is helpful but not necessary to get to as mentioned above. There is no point card system here but the prices do tend to be a bit cheaper. While you are here why not play the Plant challenge with your fellow ALT friends. The winner is the person who can see the most of their students in one trip.
Excellent for gift purchases and home furnishings, but prepared to pay the high prices! While the prices in the downstairs shop are a bit expensive, they have recently fixed the place up and we now have a totally kick ass 100 yen shop upstairs. This shop is the first place that you go to if you need something from your apartment. While it might be a 100 yen shop, the quality is great and does justice to your daily life. Best shop in Obama in my opinion.
TAKAI CYCLE CENTRE
Great place to buy, repair or sell your bicycle.
Best place to buy fresh fish and seasonal seafood in Obama.
NEW SHOPPING AREA
At the time of writing this update in the “what's in Obama” thingy, there is a new complex being built. This will have a book shop which looks like it might be a good size, a supermarket and a Cocco's restaurant (a fast food / diner place). We have others here too which in my opinion are better than Cocco's but there are people that swear by the place so it is up to you.
1,000,000 VOLT - (Hyaku man volt)
Absolutely the best place to buy your home appliances because it is the only place in Obama to do it. Prices to tend to be a bit above par here so I generally do my shopping in Tsuruga at a place called Joshin. (Higashi Obama).
The main bookstore in Obama.
SPORTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Monthly membership is 2000Yen. Friendly staff and average facilities.
Entry fee is around 250Yen. Jacouzi/ walking course.
On Route 27, just before the Obama exit. Here you can find purikura, arcade games, bowling, and cheap karaoke. (Map of Higashi Obama).
A place called Shalala is the sole remaining dedicated Karaoke bar here. The equipment is not great but it does still have mics and music and TV screens. Another thing here is you must buy at least one drink.
If you are worried about being in a small town and missing burgers etc, no problem we are big enough to have a MC D's. There is also a Japanese fast food equivalent called Mos Burger which is a little more expensive but has the plus side of being cooked when you order it and seems to be fresher. Both places do hit the spot and the McD's is actually good here. Something they do to it makes it not half bad.
There is also a Chinese place called Oshyo. This is next to Wakasa High School and opposite the shopping center with Mama store. This is cheap and great if you can't be bothered cooking. There are plenty of other places and I am sure you will be shown the other good places around by the old hands. Feel free to explore though!!
They show you how lacquered chopsticks are made, then give you a pair to design yourself. Free.
A small place that will let you make your own traditional Japanese paper for about 600Yen per person. (Bring dried flowers to decorate).
OBAMA CASTLE RUINS
In Jounai - where Suisan and Higashi ALT's can be found. Nice place to chill out and read in the warmer months.
Cruise Wakasa Bay and check out the caves! A bit pricey at 2000Yen per person, but worth the ride in the summer! There are some discount vouchers for this too so keep your eyes open and you might be able to save yourself 500 yen.
A private library of Zen writings collected by a famous writer from Ohi.
Next door is a theater for almost life-sized bamboo dolls. Dolls can be seen even when there is no show. By car, turn right off Route 27 towards Ayabe at the Hongo signal. Turn right just before the school. By train, take the JR Kawakami bus from Hongo station to Ohi bus stop.
WAKASA HISTORY MUSEUM (0770-56-0525) Set up by Fukui's government, this museum explains the history and identity of Wakasa. An English pamphlet is available for 100 yen. By car, turn right off Route 27 at the signal just after Onyugawa. Take the second left; the museum is on the right. By train, turn left out of Higashi Obama station. It's about a 5 minute walk. The old house with the thatched roof in the park next to the museum is a great place for a picnic!
WAKASA PAPER HOUSE (0770-56-0363 )
Here, you can make your own Japanese paper for 500Yen. By car, turn off Route 27 at the signal just after Onyugawa. Take the first left, at the crossroads, the house is facing you. By train, turn left out of Higashi Obama station. It's about a 5 minutes walk.
There are many temples around the Obama area. Here are a couple of the most well-known.
The best temple in Wakasa: a three-storied wooden pagoda set in a cedar forest. This temple is a National Treasure. By car, turn left off Route 27 at the Touichiba signal between Kaminaka and Obama. Follow the road for about 10 kilometers. By train, turn right out of Shinhirano station to the Touichiba signal. It's about a 40 minute walk.
A small temple in a beautiful area. The Main Hall and the 1000-armed Kannon are National Treasures. By car, take Route 6 towards Natasho but turn left. By train, take Natasho bus from Obama station to Nodai stop. It's about a 10 minutes walk to the temple.
BARS AND RESTAURANTS
Great pizza and plenty of Japanese restaurant type fare too. Upstairs you can cook your own okonomiyaki or yaki soba. Under this there is a great place too (possible also called 106) but they serve Carlsberg beer, the wonderful green bottle brew from Denmark and also not bad pricing.
Chain noodle restaurant.
It's tonkatsu time! Try the Jumbo Sets! A massive set and low price.
Lively pub/restaurant with great food. A little expensive, but they have a little of everything.
Conveyor belt sushi.
What a great place. Real Western-Style hamburgers - even better than back home. Every Tuesday night the local English Conversation (Eikaiwa) class heads here after their lesson (usually about 9:00PM)
TOMATO AND ONION
For the (fairly average) tastes of home, if you ever just need to see some dead, cooked animal on a plate.
GYOUZA NO OUSHOU
The finest gyouza (potstickers) and fried rice around for prices even destitute teachers can afford.
A tonkatsu restaurant which also serves ramen, gyouza, and lots of other things made out of pork. Nice atmosphere, especially if you like jazz music!
Bars Note: There are more than 5 bars in Obama - go find out for yourself. If you can string together enough people there is also an option for doing a nomihodai (all you can drink) that comes with a set meal that lasts about 2 hours i think.
Included for the cocktail lovers, opposite Don Juan's. Pretty quiet, good for a Tuesday!
(Near Sun Home Video) bit pricey but a nice atmosphere and manageress who always wants to talk.
Great izakaya. Good drink, food, atmosphere. Any night out drinking in Obama should involve a stop here. Closes at 12. Good place to start before going to Bonkura! FYI, this place can be quite smoky.
Sometimes has live music. Small bar open late.
Small izakaya with high prices and good food. Located near Shopping Center
"Some Foods, Some Drinks" famous not just for the sign, Sotomo has some great cakes!
As it says on the sign outside “We Love River! Since 1989” Good food, they offer pasta and a menu in katakana. The desserts are worth the visit. the owner is a Pizza Nazi though but on nights that he is in a good mood it's a good place. Sometimes he chooses to simply not open.
Located across the street from the Obama City Hall and open at 7:30 am, this place actually has breakfast! Like, with eggs, bacon, and waffles! It's still Japanese-style, but it's tasty and there is a picture menu. It's worth it for the coffee alone.
Open till around 4:00 AM everyday - crazy. The building is called MM2, it's easy to find.
This cafe is in a log cabin-style house in the mountains on the way to Natasho. The atmosphere is great. They have a large assortment of coffees, as well as other drinks and some good desserts. They also serve their own special curry. The owners make a large number of crafts, from small items to larger ones constructed out of wood, and all are on display and for sale at the cafe.
A neat little Italian place that has a good arrangement of food and drinks. It is a small place but it often is full, particularly at lunch time. This is a wonderful place but the delay for getting your food is perhaps a bit much if you go in a large group. If you go there as a couple or small group of 3, it should be an alright waiting time OK. Located on the turn off road up to the university.
A good little place for getting a munch down. Another smoky place but it is cheap. You also get given ticket for every time you go there and you can use them to get free stuff. For example 1 ticket will get you one free meat on a stick thing 2 tickets will get you a free coffee of juice and 3 tickets will get you a free batch of gyouza (super yum).
In short most of the places for eating and drinking in Japan are smoky and Obama is no exception to this rule. None the less we have some great places and you get used to it if you are not a fan of smoking.