Cultural assets

Five Lakes of Mikata

Monuments (places of scenic beauty) / Wakasa

Five Lakes of Mikata, or Mikata Goko, which is designated as a national scenic beauty, are made up not only of these five lakes (Lake Mikata, Lake Suigetsu, Lake Suga, Lake Kugushi, and Lake Hiruga), but also of the surrounding areas of the lakes and the coastal area facing the Wakasa Bay, including the Tsunegami Peninsula. Sure areas as Hirugaura on the lakeside of the Lake Hiruga, a part of which is directly connected the Japan Sea, Yushi in Tsunegami Peninsula, Ogawa, Kamiko (Mikao), and Tsunegami flourished by fishery, salt industry, and shipping agent business in the Kamakura Period. Therefore, these areas had strong influence on transportation of marine products. Such seafoods as sea bream, sardine, abalones, etc. were delivered to Kyoto, the ancient capital of Japan, as “delicious food of Wakasa region” from these coastal areas facing the Japan Sea through Wakasa-kaido Road by way of Tango-kaido Road.

There used to be “Kiyama no tsu” near the Lake Kugushi which was as an important port for the sailing route in the Sea of Japan from the mid Heian Period to the Kamakura Period before the development of a port in Obama. The goods and commodities landed here were transported to Kyoto through Wakasa-kaido Road via Kumagawa.

Moreover, in the early Edo Period, eels caught in Five Lakes of Mikata were highly valued in Kyoto as “Jakushu eels”. Jakushu is an alias of Wakasa region. According to a document recorded in the latter Edo Period, an innovative transportation system was put into practice in which fish was carried to Kyoto alive from Wakasa region using fish preserves installed at the post towns along the highway to Kyoto, the ancient capital of Japan.

The original form of the five lakes is said to have been created approximately 200,000 years ago and they were transformed into what they are now about 1,500 years ago after crustal deformation and climate changes. Five lakes, which are connected by canals and tunnels, have different salinity concentration due to slight difference of the mixing state of seawater in each lake. As a result of this, the Lake Mikata is a freshwater lake and the Lake Suigetsu, the Lake Suga, and the Lake Kugushi are brackish-water lakes and the Hiruga Lakes is a seawater-dominant lake. This difference has also resulted in slight difference in the kinds of fish living in these lakes.

Moreover, these lakes are known as the wintering spots for migrating wild birds where a lot of winter birds mainly consisting of various kinds of ducks are observed. These lakes are also known as the southernmost area of the wintering spots of steller’s sea eagles and white-tailed sea eagles designated as national natural treasures which come flying every year to prey on these wild birds. You can enjoy splendid view of Five Lakes in Mikata full of rich nature in all seasons from a pleasure boat, the Rainbow Line, a toll road on the mountains close to the five lakes where drivers can command a fine view of these lakes, and other places.

An ancient document stored by the Outo family in Kamiko in Tsunegami Penisula is a precious document designated as a cultural property by Fukui Prefecture telling us about the history of the coastal villages in this area from the late Heian Period to the Meiji Period.

In the lake bottom of the Lake Suigetsu, the biggest lake of these five lakes, lie huge amount of deposits with natural horizontal stripes covering as long as 70,000 years. One horizontal stripe is formed per one year and these stripes correspond to the layers of a tree. The research data of these horizontal stripes in the deposits of the Lake Suigetsu has been made use of as the world standard of geological age measurement.

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Japan Heritage Utilization Promotion Council of Obama City and Wakasa townFukui Prefecture, Obama City, Wakasa town

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